Current Standings – New York – 3rd in the eastern Conference (6.5 games behind Miami), 1st in the Atlantic Division (1 game ahead of Brooklyn) Philadelphia – 9th in the Eastern Conference (17 games behind Miami), 4th in the Atlantic Division (10.5 games behind New York).
Previous Meeting – New York fell to Philadelphia 97-80, on January 26th, 2013.
What To Watch For – New York is currently riding their first four game losing streak this season, and they have been under fire since before the All-Star break. Look for the Knicks to come out of the gate today with plenty of energy on both sides of the ball. The Knicks are desperate for a win right now and there’s no better place to end the losing streak then Madison Square Garden. The Sixers won big last time the team met, with Thaddeus Young being a key piece to the puzzle. Young is going to be a game-time decision today, and that can have a massive impact on the outcome of the contest.
Injury Update – New York – Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace continue to remain day-today with foot issues. Philadelphia – Jason Richardson is out for the season after under-going knee surgery. Andrew Bynum remains day-to-day with knee issues, and he could come back at anytime. The Sixers aren’t going to rush the big-man back on the court, but he will still be looking for his max contract when the season expires. Thaddeus Young will be a game-time decision today, and the Sixers can certainly use his athleticism on the perimeter against the likes of Carmelo Anthony.
Key Matchup – Carmelo Anthony vs. anyone who has the luxury of guarding him. You can throw Evan Turner, Nick Young, or any other player at him, but a scorer like him rarely notices whose between him and the hoop. I believe Anthony will come out firing today, and anytime a team has a superstar of his caliber the game can be completely taken over. Although he scored 25 points in their last meeting, Anthony shot just 9-28 from the floor. A shooting percentage like that can destroy a team’s momentum, so it’s vital Anthony gets off on the right foot tonight. The Sixers first-time All-Star Jrue Holiday will be the main problem for the Knicks, and Felton must figure out a scheme to keep him out of the paint.
Knicks Win If – New York simply cannot come into the Garden today with a lackluster effort, or they will be run out of the gym by young stars like Holiday and Turner. If the Knicks can keep Holiday out of the paint and from creating plays at will, they will have a much chance of coming out with a win. Effort should never be an issue for any professional team, but the Knicks have proven to us these past few games that it can happen any night.
Sixers Win If – The Sixers have been struggling for most the season with their All-Star center Andrew Bynum out with a knee injury, but if they can come out with the right mindset, running any team out of the building is not out of the question. The Knicks easily can lose their composure, and that can easily be taken advantage of.