(Sports Network) - Things could go from bad to worse for the struggling Philadelphia 76ers as they open up a tough, five-game road trip this afternoon i historic Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.
The Sixers are coming off an ugly 123-116 home loss to the LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Philadelphia came all the way back from a 19- point first half deficit before blowing an eight-point lead in the waning moments of that one.
Daniel Gibson scored 17 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, while Anderson Varejao added 23 points on 10-of-10 shooting and 12 rebounds to help the Cavaliers win their eighth straight game in Philadelphia.
Second-year point guard Jrue Holiday scored a career-high 29 points and handed out eight assists for the Sixers, who will also visit Oklahoma City, Dallas, San Antonio and Cleveland on their current trek. Elton Brand added 20 points against the Cavs, while Lou Williams contributed 16 off the bench.
"We had the lead and we are supposed to hold onto that lead and feel good after this. It is very disappointing," Brand said. "We are still a young squad at certain positions. We are growing and learning from everything."
Philadelphia, losers of five of six to start the year, lost versatile swingman Andre Iguodala in the Cleveland game to a strained right Achilles tendon, and forward Andres Nocioni left late with a sprained left ankle. Both players were listed as day-to-day after undergoing MRIs on Saturday that confirmed the injuries.
Iguodala, however, is scheduled to miss today's contest, ending a streak of 252 consecutive starts, the second longest in the NBA. Nocioni, meanwhile, is expected to be in the Sixers' starting lineup. Rookie Evan Turner, the second overall pick in June's draft, is set to make his first NBA start in place of Iguodala.
The Knicks opened up a quick two-game homestand in winning fashion on Friday when Toney Douglas scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench, as New York handled the Washington Wizards, 112-91, at a debris-free MSG.
Amare Stoudemire added 18 points for the Knicks, who returned to The World's Most Famous Arena after falling debris in the 42-year-old structure forced the postponement of New York's scheduled home game against Orlando last Tuesday.
"We are playing well, we really are," Stoudemire said. "We're doing a good job defensively. That's the most important factor for us right now. Our offensive is going to work itself out. Guys are slowly getting into their rhythm out there. It seems to be playing well for us."