By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. 76ers | Madison Square Garden
When: Sunday | 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: The Knicks rebounded from their showing in Indiana, but were unable to put enough good possessions together to beat the Raptors on Friday night. They were much better defensively, especially in the second and fourth quarters, but Coach Woodson and his players were ultimately disappointed in the quality of shots they were able to come up with down the stretch...It was their fourth straight loss. Help could be on the way in the form of Kenyon Martin, who will be working his way back into game shape. He signed a 10-day contract with the club in hopes providing defensive reinforcement along the front line and sticking around for the rest of the year.
Philadelphia: The Sixers are still trying to find a way to compete without Andrew Bynum, their supposed franchise cornerstone for whom they traded Andre Iguodala and others this offseason. He has returned to practice, although his team is 22-30 and isn't counting on significant contributions this season. In his absence, Jrue Holiday has become an All-Star and Evan Turner has begun to show positive signs after being picked second overall in the 2010 draft.
Last Time Out
New York: Despite holding the Raptors to quarters of 16 and 21 points, the Knicks were unable to execute offensive possessions down the stretch, losing 100-98 in Toronto on Friday.
Philadelphia: The Sixers ran into the defending champion Miami Heat last night and lost, 114-90.
The Numbers Game
The defense is still a work in progress, but the Knicks remain incredibly efficient offensively, averaging the 3rd-most points per 100 possessions in the NBA.
Matchup to Watch
Raymond Felton vs. Jrue Holiday
The last time these two teams met, Felton was making his return to the lineup from a broken pinkie finger. Holiday exploded for 35 points, six assists and five rebounds, getting into the lane and creating for himself and others. Basically, he did that night what the Knicks expect from Felton: getting Tyson Chandler involved in the pick-and-roll, spreading the ball around to his shooters and looking for his own shot in rhythm. In Carmelo Anthony, he has the go-to scorer at his side that Holiday lacks, so his role will be making sure that the Knicks keep the floor spaced.
What to Look For
After watching Holiday pick them apart, all eyes will be on how the Knicks can contain his dribble penetration and put pressure on Philly by getting easy buckets in the paint and from 3. The Sixers rank near the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency, so for the Knicks, continuing to lock in on defense like they did at times against Toronto will be crucial. Turner is one of the best rebounding guards in the league, so the Knicks will have to keep an eye on him and crash the defensive boards.