PHILADELPHIA – Samuel Dalembert scored 20 points, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala each scored 15 and the Philadelphia 76ers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 101-90 win over the New York Knicks on Friday night.

Jamal Crawford scored New York’s first 16 points in the fourth and finished with 28 points. David Lee had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Stephon Marbury returned to the lineup a day after attending the funeral of his father, Donald, who died Sunday night. Marbury briefly considered skipping the game, but said he realized the only way to truly honor his father’s memory was to play.

The grief-stricken Marbury scored only two points in the first half and spent the entire second half on the bench. He watched from the bench in a warmup jacket, head in hand.

Marbury missed New York’s 100-93 win over the New Jersey on Wednesday.

“The demands on the court are still in the same place,” coach Isiah Thomas said. “We need leadership from him. We need direction out on the floor. That will never change.”

Reggie Evans added 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers.

Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks had talked about possibly expanding his rotation or playing some of the younger players more minutes. Sure enough, the Sixers tried to build on their single-digit lead in the fourth with a lineup that included Williams and Thaddeus Young and not Iguodala or Andre Miller.

Crawford scored New York’s first 13 points of the fourth to help cut the gap to 86-80.

But the Sixers took control, highlighted by a thunderous dunk by Dalembert on the break that gave them a 94-80 lead with 3:06 left. When Crawford scored again on a 3, it was too late.

Marbury wasn’t the only Knicks starter back in the lineup. Center Eddy Curry, who sat out against the Nets because of a sprained left ankle, scored 12 points in 25 minutes.

The Sixers stretched their lead to 11 in the third only to watch Quentin Richardson hit a 3 that capped a 10-0 run and pulled the Knicks within one. Philadelphia took a 72-67 lead into the fourth.

Another small, dull crowd had more interest in razzing the players than rooting their teams on. One fan in a Knicks hat held a “Fire Isiah!” sign directly across the court from Thomas. “Just quit! Please!” he yelled. One fan who might not have noticed was the man taking a nap a few rows over.

Hard to believe this game was between two franchises whose names used to mean so much to the NBA. The Pearl. Dr. J. Clyde. A.I. The nicknames alone were worth the price of admission.

Bad trades, salary cap mismanagement, and some off-court embarrassments have these two teams playing to stay out of last place instead for a conference championship. Thomas and Cheeks haven’t found the winning formula as coaches that they did when they were title-winning point guards. Each is likely coaching his final season.

Notes: Sixers F Shavlik Randolph, who hadn’t played all season while recovering from a broken ankle, was activated. Randolph hadn’t played since November 2006. “I feel like the rehab has been going on forever,” he said. “I want to be on the court.” … Cheeks admired the way Marbury was able to put aside his grief and play. “I don’t know if I could,” he said. “I don’t know many people who can. He’s obviously one who can do it.” … The Knicks made only two turnovers in the first half.

AP-ES-12-07-07 2125EST


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.