Knicks vs. Sixers 7 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
New York: Another defensive driven win on Tuesday night improved the Knicks overall record to 22-24 in the latest Eastern Conference standings. If the postseason started today, New York would square off against the No. 1 seeded Chicago Bulls. However, with 20 games remaining on the schedule, playoff jostling will certainly adjust the matchups as the Knicks own a half game lead on Milwaukee and trail Boston by 2.5 games for the seventh spot. On the injury front, Baron Davis continues to nurse a strained hamstring and he is questionable for the contest against the Sixers tonight. Mike Bibby played spot minutes for Davis at the point guard spot and assistant coach Mike Woodson utilized Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith in the same backcourt to offset the absence of Davis.
Philadelphia: Since the last time the two teams met on March 11, the Sixers are just 1-3 with losses to Indiana, Miami, and Chicago while recording their lone victory against Charlotte on Monday night. The recent skid has placed Philadelphia in a dangerous position in the Eastern Conference’s fourth spot. As of Tuesday night, the team is 26-20, bundled next to the Pacers, Hawks, and Celtics in a battle for playoff seeding. Not to mention, the Knicks trail by four games and Boston is only 1.5 behind the Sixers in the race for the Atlantic Division crown.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks shutdown the Raptors in the fourth quarter by outscoring the road team 27-19 en route to a 106-87 win at Madison Square Garden.
Philadelphia: Thadeus Young registered 20 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in a 105-80 victory for the Sixers on Monday night.
The Numbers Game
During the four-game winning streak, the Knicks have defeated their opponents by an average of 22.5 points.
Match-up to Watch
Lou Williams vs. Iman Shumpert
Philadelphia relies heavily one of the top sixth men in the league, Lou Williams. Case in point: Williams dropped a game-high 28 points while helping the Sixers topple the Knicks at MSG in the last meeting. His production was a major key to Philadelphia’s win that included a 38-point third quarter. Shumpert is the Knicks best on-ball defender and he must be a ball hawk tonight against the underrated Williams in the backcourt. The rookie owns the size and speed to harass Williams on the wing.
What to Look For
Inside the New York locker room on Tuesday night, the team made declarative statements regarding the matchup against its Atlantic Division rival. The Knicks are highly motivated to show the Sixers their incredible improvement on the defensive side of the floor that has led to the four straight victories. When examining the last matchup, Philadelphia shot 50.6 percent from the floor and had the breakout 38-point third quarter. Aside from those two key numbers, New York essentially matched the Sixers in second chance points, rebounding, and points in the paint. As seen in last night’s contest, the Knicks are extremely focused on closing quarters, halves, and games. This new mindset from the streaking New York squad should result in another spot in the win column as they attempt to send a message to the Eastern Conference.
“We can’t wait. We understand how important this game is for us for what we are trying to accomplish as a team.” – Amar’e Stoudemire