Down the turnpike the Knicks will face off tonight against the Philadelphia 76′ers in a game that might be the deciding factor in the playoff seeding for both teams. The 6′ers are rejuvenated and have played very well under coach Doug Collins. Lets get into it.
Season Series: New York is currently trailing the season series 2-1. Losing the first game at the Garden by a score of 106-98. The Knicks also lost the front end of a home and home in Philly, 100-98. and proceeded to notch their only win of the season against the 6′ers to the tally of 117-103.
Recent Form: The Knicks are 4-6 in their last ten compared to the 6′ers who are 5-5. The Knicks however are on a 4 game winning streak while the 6′ers have lost their last two. Look for the 6′ers to come out aggressive and if the Knicks are complacent they could face an early deficit.
Match Ups: Coach Doug Collins likely starting lineup will be:
PG: Jrue Holiday: Quick young point guard who might cause Billups problems, look for Douglas to get extended minutes guarding him. Knick Killer
SG: Jodie Meeks: Sharp shooter having a breakout season.
SF: Andre Iguodala: Very good player, can come close to a triple double on any given night. Consistently one of the top 5 perimeter defenders in the game, look for him to make life very difficult for ‘Melo.
PF: Elton Brand: Averaging 27 points against the Knicks this year, thats not a typo by the way. Also playing with a small fracture in his hand. Amare Stoudemire must look to contain Brand or else the 6 seed might slip away.
C: Spencer Hawes: Averages 7 points and 6 rebounds on the season. Only plays 21 minutes a night.
Coach D’Antoni will likely start Billups, Fields, Anthony, Stoudemire, and Shelden Williams. Look for Fields to continue his good play from last night with another Landry Fields type game.
Looking Ahead: Winning this game would move the Knicks up into the 6th seed. Currently Boston and Miami are tied record wise for the 2nd seed but Boston holds the tie breaker. It is believed by many that the Heat are a better matchup for the Knicks and thus it is imperative that the Knicks win this game. However Miami and Boston do play each other head to head one more time before the conclusion of the season. The playoff picture is very murky right now but if the Celtics are able to hold of the Heat and the Knicks claim the 6th seed tonight then we would potentially take our talents to South Beach in the playoffs.