The Wells Fargo Center sounded like Madison Square Garden on Thursday night as the Sixers got thumped by the Knicks, 110 to 96. It was reminiscent of a Process-era matchup in which the visiting fans were doing most of cheering.

“Lack of focus,” said Nick Nurse after the game. “We just weren’t getting anything done on the defensive scheme side of things. They were just outplaying a lot faster. A lot more physical, a lot harder. We were just a lack of focus and a lack of being ready to go.”

The Sixers were down by 26 at one point, and battled hard in the third period to cut the lead to single digits, but they ran out of steam and the legs went and they started front rimming shots like you and I in the driveway. Tobias Harris was invisible, and while Tyrese Maxey had 35 points, he only shot 11-24 from the floor and 4-11 from three.

“It’s hard to beat good teams when you get down like that because you have to exert so much energy to fight and get back into the game,” Maxey admitted afterward. “I think we did that. We gave all we had honestly in that third quarter, but we have to start our games better, quicker, faster, stronger, and just be better.”

It’s one thing to hear about a lack of focus and lack of “being ready to go” when you’re in the final game before the All Star break, but this was the first game coming out of the All Star break, so what’s the excuse? Everybody not named Maxey just had a full week off. You’ve got guys who haven’t played a lot recently, namely Harris, and Nic Batum, so rust is a thing, sure, but that was not an acceptable performance even for a team missing the reigning MVP and other pieces as well. You’re only two games out of 8th with a murderer’s row type of schedule in front of you, and you return from the ASB with that type of performance?

The lone positive from Thursday night was Kyle Lowry’s debut, and even then, he got walloped in the first half with an elbow drop and had to go get stitches:

He got patched up, came back out, and looked good: 5-7 from the floor, 1-2 from three, 11 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes.

“It was great,” said Lowry of his Philly debut. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t play as well as I think we can. But it was an amazing atmosphere and the ovation that I got was awesome. I was happy. You know, I was pissed that we lost, and we were in that situation, but it was a great moment. Now for me it’s about winning basketball games. That first “hoorah” is over now. It’s about going out there, helping this team win basketball games. ”

Up next is Cleveland tonight, Milwaukee on Sunday, then a trip to Boston on Tuesday. They’ve got some tough games left and still have to complete the second west coast road trip. If they can’t stabilize this thing, we’re talking play-in seeding by the time Joel Embiid returns.