Sunday, March 11, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers Pre-Game News and Notes March 11th

Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Knicks 
Sunday March 11th 12:00 P.M. ET 

The Knicks look to end their 4 game losing streak in a Sunday matinee against division leading and rival Philadelphia 76ers. Tyson Chandler is probable, while Jared Jeffries will again be out of action. This will be the second of three meetings between the Knicks and 76ers. The Knicks won the first meeting in a defensive struggle, 85-79, and will play one final time in Philadelphia on March 21st. Philadelphia enters the game on a 2 game winning streak, hoping to increase their division lead over the Knicks. The 76ers have a young athletic team and the Knicks have to match their intensity and energy in an early start if they hope to come out with a win and the end of their losing streak. This game has the potential to be ugly because of the early start so whichever team adapts to the changes will come out on top. 

-Have To Play Defense 
The return of Tyson Chandler will undoubtedly help the Knicks on the defensive end of the court. The Knicks have been beaten up in the paint without the presence of Chandler in the middle, giving up 110 points in the paint during the process. The Knicks were also out-rebounded by a total of 15 rebounds in the 2 games without Chandler. The 76ers will be without starting Center Spencer Hawes again, meaning the Knicks should be able to attack the middle of the 76er defense. The Knicks out-rebounded the 76ers 46-37 in the first meeting and another dominant performance like that should result in a Knicks win along with more urgency being shown on the defensive end of the court. 

-Point Guard Play 
Point Guards have been getting up to play against Jeremy Lin and the Knicks recently. According to ESPN Stats & Information, seven of the last eight starting point guards the Knicks have gone against have scored more than their season averages for points. Here is the list of Point Guards the Knicks have gone up against. 
Brandon Jennings: 25 (18.9) 
Tony Parker: 32 (19.5) 
Jason Kidd: 15 (5.6) 
*Rajon Rondo: 18 (13.6) 
Kyrie Irving: 22 (18.3) 
Mario Chalmers: 8 (10.8) 
Jeff Teague: 18 (12.4) 
Deron Williams: 38 (22.0) 
* - Rondo also had 20 assists and 17 rebounds 

The 76ers have the up-and-coming Jrue Holiday as their starting Point Guard, who is no slouch. Jeremy Lin is not the best defender in the NBA, but the rest of the Knicks have to do their part and help out in stopping the opposing point guards. The Knicks help defense at the rim has to become more consistent, which should be aided by the return of Tyson Chandler. 

-Bench Play 
The Knicks bench had been playing well before injured to Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries caused changes to be made to the rotation. Steve Novak has provided consistent 3 point shooting off the bench, but the Knicks have struggled to find contributions from anyone else on a consistent basis. J.R. Smith has been inconsistent and Iman Shumpert seems to have hit a rookie wall of sorts, playing only 5 minutes in the game against Milwaukee. Baron Davis is starting to round into shape, and the Knicks better hope it it happens soon because they will need it against Philadelphia. The 76ers sport one of the best benches in the NBA, led by team leading scorer Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young. Young center Nikola Vucevic, who the Knicks had their eyes on with their pick in this years past draft, is also starting to come on for the 76ers. The Knicks have to mach their intensity if they have any chance of winning.

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