Kelly Oubre Jr.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Kelly Oubre Jr. plays during an NBA basketball game against Washington on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in Philadelphia.

NEW YORK (AP) – Kelly Oubre Jr. had 18 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers held the New York Knicks to the lowest point total in the NBA this season, winning 79-73 on Sunday night in the ugly opener of a two-game series.

Less than two months after Joel Embiid scored 70 points by himself to set a 76ers franchise record, it appeared for a while that neither team might get that many Sunday.

Philadelphia led 37-31 at halftime, the lowest-scoring first half in an NBA game since Portland led Detroit 34-31 on March 30, 2019, in a game the Pistons won 99-90.

The scoring picked up in the second half, when the 76ers finally got enough contributions to snap a three-game losing streak. Buddy Hield had 16 points and Paul Reed added 13.

Tobias Harris finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers, who had been handled by the Knicks in the two previous meetings this season but can now split the series with a victory when the teams meet again Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

With Embiid still recovering from knee surgery and fellow All-Star Tyrese Maxey missing his fourth straight game because of a concussion, the 76ers are missing more than 60 points per game from their lineup.

They didn’t need the extra offense on a night the Knicks shot 32.5% from the field and 22.5% from 3-point range. Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 19 points but shot just 6 for 22.

New York also is missing an injured All-Star in Julius Randle, along with fellow frontcourt starters OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson. The Knicks turned to their defense to beat Orlando on Friday night, allowing what had been an NBA season-low 74 points.

That lasted just two nights, with the Knicks committing 21 turnovers that led to 17 Philadelphia points.

Hield and Reed combined for Philadelphia’s first 12 points in the fourth quarter, with Reed’s 3-pointer with 3:32 left giving the 76ers the only double-digit lead of the game at 73-63.

There was some shoving in the period. Oubre fouled Donte DiVincenzo, who was trying to get up as Oubre was still standing over him. DiVincenzo wrapped up Oubre’s legs and knocked him beyond the baseline, with Isaiah Hartenstein pushing Oubre. Both Knicks and Reed got technical fouls.

The 76ers missed their first nine 3-point attempts before Cam Payne hit one in the final minute of the first quarter. That started a 10-0 run — though points came so slowly that calling it a run may be inappropriate — which gave Philadelphia a 20-15 edge early in the second.

The Knicks will leave for a four-game trip to the West after Tuesday’s game and coach Tom Thibodeau said he expected his injured players to travel with the team, adding the hope was that Anunoby would be cleared to play.