Pre-Game Report: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers

New York Knicks (22-24) at Philadelphia 76ers (26-20)
7:00 PM EST, March 21, 2012
Wells Fargo Arena, Philadelphia, PA
TV: ESPN

Sixers Projected Starting Line-up:

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Evan Turner
SF: Andre Iguodala
PF: Elton Brand
C: Spencer Hawes

The New York Knicks are on a four game winning streak and they have not lost a game since Mike Woodson became the Knicks head coach. The Knicks’ offense is running quite well, but they have a lot of work left to do on the defensive end before they can be called an upper echelon team.

The Sixers, on the other hand, are a very good defensive team and punish opponents with their intense play. Philadelphia has the ability to win games with their defense alone and it will take a lot of energy for the Knicks to score on the Sixers.

Frontcourt: The Sixers’ front court is centered around Andre Iguodala and he is an integral part to the team’s success. Although Iguodala rarely score 30 points in game, his versatility allows him to influence the game on both ends of the court. He can score when the team needs him and can lock down the opponents’ best scorer on the other end. The Sixers also have a veteran presence in Elton Brand and even though he is well past his prime, he has a consistent mid-range shot. Brand can score in bunches and will force the Knicks’ big men to move further away from the basket. The Sixers will also get back Spencer Hawes, someone who began the season off very well but slipped a little due to injuries. Hawes grabs down an average of eight rebounds a game, and he has the ability to make Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler non-factors.

Backcourt: The Sixers’ back-court is extremely talented and has a pair of talented, young guards. Jrue Holiday is a true NBA point guard and could do virtually everything for the team. He can find teammates for open looks with the ball in his hands and has the ability to shut down opponents with his aggressive defense. The Sixers also have another versatile player in the starting lineup with Evan Turner. Turner is not the most flashiest player, but he can play almost every position. He is another defense powerhouse and just like Iguodala, he can give Philadelphia some solid scoring.

Keys to Victory:

1. Match Philadelphia’s defense- The Sixers are the best defensive team in the NBA and allow on average only 87 points a game. The Knicks, however, give up 95 points a game and need to improve that if they want to make a push for the playoffs. This game will help the Knicks gain ground on the Sixers in the Atlantic Division, but they can only do that if they play with the same defensive activity as the Sixers do.

2. Keep up with the athletic back-court- The Sixers are a very athletic team and their back-court duo of Turner and Holiday will present many problems for the Knicks. The team thrives in the open court and the Knicks must make sure they can keep up with the young guards.

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