Knicks vs. Sixers 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
The Knicks leaped over the .500 mark by securing their third straight win on Monday night. For the first time since Christmas Day, New York treated the hometown crowd to a victory and the squad has the opportunity to make a statement in the division with a matchup against Philadelphia. At 5-4, the Knicks are seventh in the conference heading into their first contest against the Sixers this year.
Last season, the Sixers slipped into the postseason with a 41-41 record and were ousted by the Miami Heat. The core group has returned under head coach Doug Collins as Philadelphia attempts to make a move in the Eastern Conference this year. After dropping two of their first three games, the Sixers are hot with six straight victories and boast impressive NBA rankings. Philadelphia is striving in all the important categories, No. 1 in points allowed, No. 2 in rebounds per game, and surprisingly No. 5 in points per game. The 7-2 Sixers will play their first road game since January 4.
Last Time Out
New York held off Charlotte down the stretch on Monday night and escaped with a 91-87 victory. Amar’e Stoudemire scored a team-high 25 points while Tyson Chandler snatched 13 boards.
Philadelphia cruised to a 112-85 win over the 3-7 Kings on Tuesday night. Elton Brand led the Sixers with 21 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks while his squad remained undefeated at home.
The Numbers Game
Chandler was extremely efficient on Monday by posting 20 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the floor, hitting 6-of-8 free throws, grabbing 13 boards, and recording three steals in 39 minutes of work.
Match-up to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Andre Iguodala
Lou Williams might lead the Sixers in points per game but Iguodala is considered their star at the small forward position. Iguodala is a long and athletic frontcourt player with strong attributes on the defensive side of the floor. Philadelphia relies on him to shut down the opponents’ best wing and provide the team with a jolt of energy in the open floor. On Monday, Carmelo Anthony struggled in an uncharacteristic 6-for-18 shooting performance. 22 points for most players is a solid outing but by Anthony’s standards, it was an off night and he intends to bounce back in a big way. Both players are highly skilled and it will be a joy to watch this individual matchup on the Madison Square Garden floor.
What to Look For
After winning three straight games, the Knicks will face their biggest challenge since playing the Lakers in Los Angeles. The Sixers have owned their opponents during the recent streak but fatigue could be a major issue as they complete the rigorous back-to-back-to-back. From all accounts, Iman Shumpert is 100 percent despite suffering through leg cramps on Monday and Anthony appears to be fine for the 7:30 contest. A key number is 100 as both losses for the Sixers were a result of the opposite team reaching the century mark.