Sixers Projected Starting Line-up:
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Jason Richardson
SF: Hedo Turkoglu
PF: Ryan Anderson
C: Dwight Howard
The New York Knicks will be without two stars tonight as Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire are battling injuries. To make matters worse, the Knicks will be going up against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Orlando Magic currently holds the third seed in the East and is looking for its fourth consecutive victory.
Frontcourt: The Magic has a prolific frontcourt and the team has a great balance of offensive and defensive skills. Dwight Howard anchors the squad on the defensive end and Anderson and Turkoglu help the team greatly with their impressive shooting. Howard is no doubt the best center in the NBA and with Stoudemire out for the game, the Knicks’ big men will have great problems defending Howard. He can crash the boards extremely well and can dominate the paint on both ends of the court. This season, Howard is averaging 21.1 points and 14.7 rebounds per game. On the other hand, Anderson and Turkoglu combine for 17 points a game.
Backcourt: Orlando also has an All-Star caliber point guard in its backcourt in Jameer Nelson, someone who has the ability to take over the game. Nelson runs the offense very well and balances scoring and dishing the ball. The Magic rely on Nelson whenever Howard is on the bench and it needs him to make plays if games come down to the wire. In the backcourt there is also Jason Richardson, a player who has the ability to shoot the lights out. Richardson has been averaging 11.3 points per game this season, but he has the ability to score 20 points on any given night.
Keys to Victory:
1. A team effort is needed to stop Howard- The Knicks will only have one of their starts in this game, Carmelo Anthony, and he needs to help the big men defend Howard. Anthony does not usually crash the boards, but with no Stoudemire, he needs to help out in the paint.
2- Limit the Magic’s three point shooting- The Magic have a penchant for shooting the ball from the three-point arc and can open up a large lead if it has it going from deep. Nearly everyone on the squad can light it up from there, so the Knicks must make sure the opponents doesn’t get hot from back there.