Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers Pre-Game News and Notes March 21

Wednesday March 21st 7:00 P.M. ET 
New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers 

How great it is to watch a team when they are enjoying themselves. “I think over the last four games we have come together as a group. I think you can see the amount of fun we are having,” said Steve Novak. It has been a pleasure to watch, and the show continues tonight against division leading and rival Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks are looking to continue their winning streak under interim coach Mike Woodson and get the total to 5 games after tonight. 

-Baron Davis Returns 

Baron Davis will make his return to the lineup tonight, after missing Tuesday’s game against the Raptors. The Knicks looked good without him, but his return will be welcome back with open arms. This allows the Knicks to play Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith off the bench without having to have them worry about Point Guard duties. They can focus on their strengths, defense and scoring. 

-Stop Lou Williams 

The last game between the Knicks and 76ers was a laugher, as the 76ers blew out the Knicks. One catalyst in the blowout was backup Point Guard Lou Williams, who scored 28 points off the bench. Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith should shadow him around the court on the defensive end. 

The Knicks bench had a slow night against the Raptors, so as a whole they should be chomping at the bit to get back at it tonight. The Knicks will need another total team effort tonight against a 76ers team that is looking to widen their lead for the division lead. The bench is very important in that and has been a catalyst for the Knicks during the win streak, something that will need to continue again tonight. 

-Close out Strong 

The Knicks need to close out the end of quarters strong against the 76ers. They can not allow them to cut into or widen leads at these times. Ending quarters has been a struggle at times for the Knicks, allowing teams to creep back into games at quarters end. If the Knicks are able to jump out to a lead they cannot allow the 76ers to hang around chipping away. They must put them away early, setting the tempo and pace they are more comfortable at and get the 76ers out of their game. 

-Spread the Wealth 

The Knicks have been playing great team basketball recently, and they cannot get away from that against a tough 76ers team. Amar’e Stoudemire has struggled in the past against Elton Brand, and if that happens again the slack needs to be picked up by his teammates. 
Carmelo Anthony has been more involved on both ends of the court since the resignation of Mike D’Antoni, and this is not the time for that to stop. If he realizes how important of a game this is, he will come out showing that urgency and intensity needed and will have his teammates doing the same. This team has had a different look to them recently and they need to keep that killer instinct to turn this season around. 

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