Joel Embiid and James Harden have been greeted by loud roars from the plenty of Philadelphia 76ers fans that packed Madison Square Garden.
The cheers later turned to groans as one foul after another threatened to make the matinee last deep into the afternoon.
Embiid didn’t care how it looked to viewers. All that matters is how his partnership with Harden looks to him.
“Unstoppable,” he said.
Embiid scored 37 points and made a career and NBA season-high 23 free throws while Harden added a triple-double with 29 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds.
The led the visitors to a 125-109 success over the New York Knicks for the 76ers’ second win in a row with their new duo.
Tyrese Maxey added 21 points while Australian small forward Mattise Thybulle started and scored eight points.
Philadelphia made 39 free throws, most in the NBA this season, and almost all their work to break open a close game midway through the fourth quarter came from the line.
Harden’s first game for the 76ers in Philadelphia will be on Wednesday.
“Tonight felt like we were in Philly,” Harden said.
“But that crowd, it’s going to be turned (up) in there and I’m ready for it.”
After a powerful performance in a 133-102 win at Minnesota on Friday in Harden’s 76ers debut, this one became a grind-it-out game that the 76ers handled better.
It was tied at 100-all in the fourth, but Philadelphia pulled away by scoring 10 of their next 12 at the line.
RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier each scored 24 points for the Knicks, who have lost five straight and nine of 10.