Ben Simmons moved into sole possession of second place in triple-doubles by a rookie, and the 76ers defeated the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden Thursday night.

Simmons scored 13 points, grabbed ten rebounds and picked up 12 assists in route to his eighth triple-double of the season, pushing Magic Johnson to third for such feat by a rookie. In the game, Simmons also became the third rookie ever, joining Oscar Robertson, who is first all-time in rookie triple-doubles, and Magic Johnson, to record 1000 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in a rookie campaign.

While the numbers trended in the 76ers favor, the opening salvo did not, as Philadelphia found themselves tied with the Knicks after one quarter, 32-32.

Despite the tie after 12 minutes, Joel Embiid was able to find an offensive groove early in this one, scoring 13 first quarter points. He would finish the game with a double-double of his own, securing 10 rebounds and pouring in a game high 29 points. The big man was effective for the second consecutive outing, picking up those 29 points on 11 of 21 shooting.

The Knicks outplayed the 76ers offensively in the second quarter, paced by a barrage of scoring from three different players, including two who had strong play off the bench. Courtney Lee was able to pick things up in the second with seven points in the second after scoring just four in the first quarter. Kyle O’Quinn found his range in the second quarter, picking up nine of his game 15 points. But it was former-Michigan standout Trey Burke who would have the most consistent second quarter for the Knicks. The guard poured in 13 of his 16 points over 12 minutes. The trio would provide 29 of New York’s 36 second quarter points, as the Knicks took a 68-60 lead into halftime.

New York would stretch the lead to 12, 72-60, after consecutive buckets to open the second half. But in a low scoring third quarter, they could pull away no further, as the 76ers would close the gap, once more, to eight points as time expire in the quarter. Dario Saric remained consistent in the third, as he has all season long, picking up six of his 21 points in the quarter. Saric would become the third 76er on the night to record at least a double-double, as he finished with 21 points and ten rebounds, including five offensive rebounds.

Those five offensive rebounds were part of a team 19 that played a critical role in the 76ers keeping the game close, and eventually taking over the Knicks in the fourth quarter. The 19 offensive rebounds led to 18 second chance points for the 76ers.

Joel Embiid would get the fourth quarter starter by grabbing the first three points for either team, trimming the New York lead to five, 91-86. Moments later he would find Ersan Ilyasova, who pumped a leaping Isaiah Hick past him, and knocked down an elbow three, cutting the Knicks’ lead to four, 95-91.

The Knicks would reclaim a multi-possession lead after Burke, Michael Beasley and Enas Kanter knocked down three of the game’s next four shots, putting New York back up by eight, 101-93. After a Simmons dunk and an ensuing defensive stop, Robert Covington knocked down one of his five triples on the night, trimming the lead to three, 101-98.

Just over two minutes later, Saric and Covington poured in threes less than a minute apart, and the defense kept the Knicks off the board as the 76ers claimed their first lead since the 6:26 mark in the second quarter, when the led 52-50.

Down eight with 12 minutes to play, the 76ers would clamp down defensively, allowing just 19 points in the fourth quarter. The Knicks scored once from the field in the final three minutes of play, as the 76ers picked up 12 of the game’s final 16 points to crawl back from eight down to win 118-110.

Once again, all five 76ers’ starter reached double digits in scoring, the 24th this core has done that this season. Marco Bellinelli grabbed 10 points off the bench, as well, giving the 76ers six players in double figures.The Knicks also had a balanced attack on the night, as Tim Hardaway Jr. fell one point shy of New York matching the 76ers’ feat. They also had six players in double figures, as O’Quinn and Burke scored 15 and 16, respectively.

The win improves the 76ers to 37-30, keeping pace with the Washington Wizards in the loss column. Philadelphia sits in the six seed, just one game behind Washington in the standings. It also creates some separation between them and the Milwaukee Bucks, who lost to the Orlando Magic Wednesday night, and now sit a game and a half back of the 76ers.

The Knicks’ loss drops their record to 24-45, falling below the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference. New York has now lost nine consecutive games dating back to February 24. They’re also losers of 17 of their last 18 games.

The 76ers will have a quick turnaround, as they’ll get back into Philadelphia and host the Brooklyn Nets Friday night from the Wells Fargo Center. Tip off is set for 7 p.m., and you can hear all the action live on 97.5 The Fanatic!

-By Tyler Zulli