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Winners and losers from Philadelphia 76ers Christmas Day win over the New York Knicks

The Philadelphia 76ers headed to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks on Christmas. For both teams, this was all about a rivalry being renewed on a holiday.

Both squads had been playing great basketball with Philadelphia having won seven consecutive and the Knicks in the midst of a stretch that has seen it win eight of 10.

As expected, the game was competitive. New York opened up a 12-point lead after the first quarter before Philadelphia pulled to within three at the half. After three quarters, Joel Embiid’s performance had the 76ers to within just one point.

That’s when James Harden and Georges Niang took over in the final stanza to give Philadelphia an impressive 119-12 victory for its eighth consecutive win. Below, we look at four winners and losers from this festive matchup.

Related: Philadelphia 76ers standing in Sportsnaut’s NBA power rankings

Winner: Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid continues to dominate

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Embiid entered Sunday’s matchup averaging 35.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists over the course of his past 14 outings. That included a 59-point performance against the Utah Jazz back on Nov. 13.

The NBA MVP candidate continued this strong play, outperforming the Knicks’ combo at center to the tune of 35 points and eight rebounds on 12-of-22 shooting from the field. His dominance in the low-post also set the stage for Philadelphia to hit from the perimeter. It’s this mix that enabled Philly to drop 119 points on 51% shooting.

Loser: R.J. Barrett comes up small for the New York Knicks

NBA: New York Knicks at Phoenix Suns
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

New York needs this recently-extended wing to be more consistent. It’s been an issue throughout the 2022-23 season. That is to say, having a few miserable performances mixed in with elite outings. Sunday’s game was a representation of the former.

Barrett shot a mere 6-of-21 from the field while scoring 17 points. While he did add 10 rebounds and four assists, this shooting display cost New York in a big way.

Related: New York Knicks as legit NBA Playoff contenders

Winner: Georges Niang comes up big for the Philadelphia 76ers

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With star guard Tyrese Maxey still sidelined to injury, Philadelphia has been able to get some solid scoring up and down its roster behind the likes of Embiid and Harden. Averaging 9.5 points on 42% shooting from distance heading into Christmas, Niang was a primary example of this.

The wing responded big time in the fourth quarter, nailing a whopping four three-pointers as Philadelphia put this one away. Embiid and Harden have the ability to carry Philadelphia. But when reserves like Niang do what we saw on Christmas, it makes this team nearly unbeatable.

Loser: New York Knicks bench struggles

NBA: Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks
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Outside of Immanuel Quickley (11 points on 4-of-7 shooting), the Knicks’ bench simply did not come to play in this one. It’s been somewhat of an issue for Tom Thibodeau until recently with the head coach struggling to find the right mix.

The combination of Isaiah Hartenstein, Jericho Sims and Miles McBride shot 3-of-5 from the field in 33 minutes. They finished a combined minus-37 when on the court. For comparison’s sake, Philadelphia’s bench was plus-38. That was the difference as the New York Knicks lost their third consecutive outing.