Knicks extend streak of futility in listless loss to 76ers

This wasn’t hard to process.

The Knicks extended their franchise-record single-season losing streak to 18 games after suffering a predictable setback to the 76ers, 126-111, Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. With their 26th loss in the past 27 games, the NBA-worst Knicks (10-47) remain winless since Jan. 4, having also lost a record-extending 17 straight games at home since Dec. 1.

The Knicks are now eight games shy of tying the longest single-season losing streak in league history, but hold a legitimate chance to end the skid Thursday night in Atlanta (19-38), which has lost two of three meetings with the Knicks this season.

Earlier this season, coach David Fizdale said he believed the Knicks wouldn’t be forced to endure a years-long “Process” to become a contender, like Philadelphia, thanks to the presence of Kristaps Porzingis. Now, with New York’s former franchise player in Dallas, Fizdale knows securing a fortuitous pingpong ball bounce in the draft lottery, and two superstar free agents, will decide how long the rebuilding may last.

“I like where we are. I really do,” Fizdale said before the latest loss. “I like what we’re sitting on right now, and I’m excited for our future.

“It just depends on how all that stuff goes. A lot of these teams made fast jumps. Some teams take longer to get there. It just depends on how all that stuff goes in the offseason.”

Even the bleakest summer would be less unsettling than the latest crowd at the Garden, which sounded like game, and Amtrak tickets, had been given away on Broad Street. If you closed your eyes, the reaction of each team scoring was indistinguishable.

Led by “Process” prizes Joel Embiid (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Ben Simmons (18 points, seven assists) — plus recent addition Tobias Harris (25 points), a Long Island native — Philadelphia (37-21) was in front nearly the entire night, hitting 14 of its first 18 shots in a 37-point first quarter. Behind strong starts from Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier, the Knicks trailed 44-43 with nine minutes left in the first half, but the Sixers immediately went on a 9-0 run and took a 71-55 lead to halftime, while shooting 63 percent from the field against a helplessly overmatched Knicks defense.

The Sixers extended the lead to 26 in the third quarter, but the Knicks slowly chipped away, with four first- or second-year players (Trier, Dotson, Mitchell Robinson, Kadeem Allen) scoring double-digit points off the bench. A Luke Kornet fallaway 3-pointer put the Knicks down 111-105 with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks never got closer.

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