The Knicks' Josh Hart, right, reacts past the 76ers' Paul...

The Knicks' Josh Hart, right, reacts past the 76ers' Paul Reed after making a basket during the second half of an NBA game Friday in Philadelphia. Credit: AP/Matt Slocum

PHILADELPHIA — The Knicks arrived at Wells Fargo Center intent on proving something to themselves and to the NBA. And if facing the 76ers was going to be a measuring stick, the Knicks added degree of difficulty. Could they survive against one of the NBA’s top teams with Julius Randle enduring a nightmarish offensive performance?

What if you were told the Knicks took on the NBA’s second-ranked defense and blew it apart to improve to 3-0 since the trade that shifted the roster and the team’s fortunes?

It might have seemed unlikely at tipoff, but then again, nothing seems predictable with the Knicks right now. They turned the game early and never let Philadelphia back in, taking a 128-92 decision after leading by 39 points.

Randle shot 1-for-11 and scored only eight points, but the Knicks got contributions from nearly everyone else in a dominating performance. The Knicks’ bench outscored the 76ers’ bench 49-15.

OG Anunoby, the centerpiece acquisition in last Saturday’s trade, shot 3-for-11 — but still, the team looks completely different since the deal.

This measuring stick was an impressive one, their most lopsided win of the season.

“It’s a great win, honestly, for us,” Randle said. “Especially to come on the road and do this, it’s huge. Shoot, I’m happy we can get out of here with a win. Just keep building on it.”

“That’s every game for us to see where we’re at,” Jalen Brunson said. “Any given night, any team can beat anybody. So no matter who it is, we have to have the same approach. Obviously, that’s a great team over there and they’ve done a great job throughout the first half of the season. And we just played well tonight.”

With Randle struggling, the Knicks (20-15) got offensive production from expected places — Brunson had 29 points, including 16 in the team’s 41-point second quarter — and unlikely sources. Deuce McBride, who just gained a spot in the rotation with the trade of Immanuel Quickley, scored 12 of his 15 points on 4-for-4 three-point shooting in a four-minute stretch in the first quarter that turned the game. Quentin Grimes scored all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter and Isaiah Hartenstein finished with 17. Josh Hart added 10 points, 15 rebounds and six assists — a plus-46 in just under 30 minutes.

“We’re high-character guys that play the game hard, that play the game the right way,” Hart said. “And I think that’s really showing right now in the style of play we’re doing, the wins that we’re getting. We just got to continue to do it. We can’t get too high, too low. In this league, when you’re at your peak, you have more room to fall. We have to continue to build and to grow and try to put together wins.”

Joel Embiid had 30 points and Tyrese Maxey 27 for the 76ers (23-11).

The Knicks stretched the lead to double figures midway through the second quarter and never allowed the 76ers to get within single digits again.

A chant of “Let’s Go Knicks’’ rose midway through the fourth quarter when the Knicks created a humbling moment for MVP candidate Embiid. First, as he dribbled near the foul line with Hartenstein defending, Brunson sneaked in and swiped the ball from him, going the distance for a layup. The 76ers then kicked the ball ahead to Embiid, who tried to aggressively go to the basket, but this time Hartenstein blocked the shot, triggering a fast break that ended in a reverse layup for Grimes, who completed the three-point play.

The 76ers got within 13 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter before the Knicks responded with a 33-7 run to build the advantage to 39 points.

The Knicks looked overwhelmed in the opening minutes and the 76ers looked exactly like what they have been — an elite defensive team with speed and disruption all over the court. And then suddenly, it flipped.

The Knicks’ second unit, which had performed miserably in the first two games since the trade — which shifted the rotations and removed spark plug Quickley — took over, keying a 21-4 run led by the unlikely production of McBride. The Knicks turned a 10-point deficit into a 37-30 lead and led 75-55 at halftime.

Notes & quotes: The 76ers’ Tobias Harris did not play in the fourth quarter, ruled out with left ankle soreness.


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