The first game of Daylight Savings Time belongs to the Sixers(1-0) who will play the Knicks(1-0) at Madison Square Garden. Today’s 12pm game is the first of a home and home series with New York.
Home and home series are a great opportunity for two teams to get a feel for each other. And, when they happen later in the season, the drama can really ratchet up if both teams are vying for playoff position. It’s too early in the season to attribute that much importance to this game between Atlantic Division rivals, but both of these teams expect to be competing for the division title so expect a spirited matchup.
Both teams come into this game with opening night wins against top tier teams. The Sixers topped Denver 84-75 on Halloween, while the Knicks beat Miami by 20 on Friday. The Sixers were led by unlikely hero Spencer Hawes, while the Knicks relied on a 30-10 game from Carmelo Anthony.
Today, Philadelphia will again be without center Andrew Bynum. I imagine this is a feeling Lakers fans know all too well—checking the news every day to when Bynum is expected to return. There’s at least a shot of parity today, because Tyson Chandler is listed as day-to-day due to flu-like symptoms.
As always, this matchup presents unique advantages and disadvantages for the Sixers. Here are my thoughts on how they win this game:
- Push the tempo- The Knicks are the oldest team in NBA history. They have some tough, smart defenders who will try to neutralize the Sixers athletic advantage by playing a physical game. To counter this, the Sixers need to use every opportunity to push the pace of the game. Whichever guard isn’t being covered by Ronnie Brewer is going to have a significant athletic advantage over their man, and someone like Kurt Thomas or Rasheed Wallace is going to have a tough time chasing someone like Thaddeus Young around the court.
- Attack the paint- Whether Tyson Chandler plays or not, the Sixers should have the size to bang with Knicks. This partially plays into the Knicks hand, who would much rather play a slow, breakdown type game to protect the knees of all the geriatrics on their squad. However, this team will struggle to protect the rim if Tyson Chandler or Kurt Thomas gets in foul trouble. Tyson Chandler in particular acts as bandage for a lot of Knick defensive woes. If he can be forced to play tentatively it will be a huge boost to the Sixers.
- Defend the 3- The Sixers did a great job defending the 3 against Denver, and they’ll need to repeat that effort if they want to win against New York. In their win against Miami the Knicks made 19 three pointers and shot over 50%. That kind of shooting from deep can overcome a lot of other shortcomings.
And, as is always the case with the Knicks, if Carmelo Anthony is playing well you’re guaranteed a tough game. Conversely, though, if Melo is off his game and gets goaded into a chuckfest the Sixers can do everything wrong and still find themselves in a position to win this game.
Article provided by David Donnella
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