Instead, it turned into a Halloween thriller.
Andre Iguodala scored 32 points, including the go-ahead three-point play in overtime, and the 76ers blew a 23-point lead before beating the Knicks 141-127 on Saturday night.
Lou Williams added 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the 76ers, who scored the final 17 points of the game, sending the Knicks to an overtime loss for the second time in two nights.
"They're a team that can shoot themselves out of a game and they can shoot themselves into a game," said Iguodala, who added 11 rebounds and seven assists. "They did both things tonight and it turned out to be an exciting finish."
Al Harrington responded to a demotion with a career-high 42 points — most ever by a Knicks reserve — but fouled out with New York leading by three in overtime. Danilo Gallinari, who replaced him in the lineup, finished with a career-best 30.
Thaddeus Young scored 25 for the Sixers, who made 16 of 22 shots in the first quarter, rang up 70 points in the first half, and shot 61 percent in their second victory in two nights.
Somehow it ended up being a difficult one. New York scored 41 points in the fourth and 71 in the second half but dropped to 0-3, its worst start since losing its first five under Larry Brown in 2005-06.
"Last year we would struggle away through third quarter but this year we struggle with our first quarter," Harrington said. "We got to find a way to fight through this."
Marreese Speights, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds, made two free throws on the play that fouled out Harrington with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in overtime. Iguodala followed with his three-point play that gave Philadelphia a 129-127 lead, and the deflated Knicks didn't score again.
"I think we kind of rushed a little bit," Knicks guard Larry Hughes said. "We took some shots and didn't have floor balance where we were able to get out. We just need to be a little more patient. Five minutes is not a lot of time in overtime. We kind of just rushed things a little bit."
The Knicks' home opener — which briefly included ex-Knick Stephon Marbury in a courtside seat — was clearly the JV game on the weekend of matchups between Philadelphia and New York teams. The Phillies hosted the Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night, and the Giants visit the Eagles in an NFC East contest on Sunday.
"I'm kind of conflicted because all my friends and family, Knicks, Giants, mostly Yankees, so it's like they're not even rooting for me tonight," said Sixers forward Elton Brand, who grew up in New York.
Brand had 16 points to help the 76ers beat the Knicks for the sixth straight time, their longest winning streak in the series since taking eight in a row in the mid-1980s.
The Knicks changed their lineup, giving Gallinari his first start of the season after falling behind 32-13 after one quarter of their double-overtime loss Friday at Charlotte. Gallinari made a 3-pointer the first time he touched the ball, but nothing could solve New York's defensive woes.
Philadelphia was up double digits a little more than halfway though the first quarter, shot 73 percent and led by as much as 16 while building a 40-25 advantage.
New York, which has trailed by at least 21 points in all three games, started to hear some loud boos while falling behind 70-51 at halftime. The lead grew to 23 in the third, but the Knicks cut it to 96-81 after three and kept charging in the fourth.
A three-point play by Harrington and 3-pointer by Gallinari cut it to 121-120 with 11 seconds to go. Jason Kapono, one of the NBA's best shooters, made only one of two free throws, and Chris Duhon drove for a tying layup with 5.9 seconds remaining. Iguodala missed a jumper as regulation ended.
Hughes, who hadn't played in the Knicks' first two games, scored 18 points.
Marbury, who had a bitter departure from the team last season after clashing with Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, briefly sat courtside near John McEnroe, who was dressed as Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page for Halloween. Marbury was forced to leave that spot across from the New York bench because he was in the wrong seat. … D'Antoni on Duhon's postgame criticism Friday that the Knicks weren't serious enough before their loss in Charlotte: "Probably could have done it just with the guys, obviously that would have been better, but we're trying to get guys to get on the right side of professionalism and we need to do that. I don't think it's a big problem, maybe it reared its head yesterday, I don't know that. But obviously Chris felt it." … Knicks guard Nate Robinson sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter and left on crutches.