The New York Knicks (22-24) head to Atlantic Division leading Philadelphia (26-20) putting a 4 game win streak on the line against the Sixers. After digging themselves quite a hole during a 6 game losing streak, the Knicks will need very strong play the rest of the way to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Knicks lead the recently reloaded Milwaukee Bucks–on a 6 game win streak– by a mere 1/2 game.
While the schedule isn’t easy, we fans can take some solace in the fact that overall the Knicks are playing very well of late. Courtesy of ESPN’s stat department and Elias Sports Bureau: The good news.
1. The Knicks have won 4 straight games since replacing Mike D’Antoni with Mike Woodson and are outscoring opponents by 22.5 PPG in those games. According to Elias, that’s the largest positive point differential for any team in NBA history over its first four games following a coaching change. The Knicks had opened the month with 6 straight losses prior to Mike Woodson taking over.
2. According to Elias, the Knicks four-game winning streak is the second-longest in franchise history to immediately follow a coaching change.
3. The 76ers enter 26-20 on the season, which marks their best 46-game start to a season since beginning 2000-01 with a 35-11 record. At this point last season, Philadelphia was 20-26.
4. The 76ers rank last in the league in free throw attempts per game (18.1).
5. This marks the third meeting of the season between the Knicks and 76ers. The teams have split the first two meetings, both of which were in New York. The Knicks have won 3 of the last 4 meetings overall.
As for the bad news, well the Sixers are still a very strong defensive team. They are 1st in points allowed at 87.7 per game (Def Rtg 97.3 for 1st). They are 4th in rebounding at 43.5 per game. The Sixers’ strengths seem to counter what the Knicks need to do well to win, that being rebound and score efficiently.
Your in-game thoughts here.