Monday, November 5, 2012
Pre-Game News and Notes
New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The New York Knicks are off to their best start since the 1999-2000 season and will look to move to 3-0 for the first time since then against the Philadelphia 76ers tonight. Tonight is the second game of the home-and-home series and here are some things to keep an eye on and watch for.
-Keep up the Defense
The Knicks have played stellar defense thus far this season, giving up 84 points in both games this season. That is quite an accomplishment for this team, as it is only the second time since the 1954-1955 season the Knicks first two opponents have scored 84 points or less.
One reason for the Knicks success is that they have been forcing turnovers and converting off those miscues. They need to continue this pressure and take the 76er crowd out of the game from the start by setting the tone in their favor.
The Knicks also need to slow down Jrue Holiday, who had a big game Sunday afternoon going for 27 points and seven assists. The Knicks did force Holiday into six turnovers, but slowing him down would really hamper a 76er team which will be without two of their top guns offensively in Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson.
-Control the Paint
The 76ers are a small team without Bynum and the Knicks have to take advantage. Throughout two games, the Knicks have been outscored in the paint because of lights out shooting from three point range. The torrid shooting pace is unlikely to continue, so the Knicks should look to score from the post and paint more tonight against a team without an intimidating presence in the middle.
Tyson Chandler has had a quiet start to the season with the Knicks not needing him in the fourth quarter of the games yet, but he has done a great job in his limited minutes. Chandler has 15 rebounds and two blocks so far on the season, being a presence in the paint for the Knicks. He has also changed a number of shots and done plenty of things for the Knicks that do not show up in box scores.
Carmelo Anthony has been outstanding thus far through two games, setting the tone early and often on the offensive end in both games with dominant first quarters. Where Anthony has been even better is the defensive end, showing an improved effort on that side of the court, setting an example for his teammates to follow.
Anthony has led the defensive charge the first two games, playing physical defense against Lebron James Friday night and bringing high energy to the defensive end of the court Sunday afternoon.
“It’s really contagious when you see your start player going out there, diving in the crowd, giving up open shots, going for loose balls,” said J.R. Smith. “It really filters throughout the team, so as long as he keeps doing that, I think everybody won’t have a problem doing it.”
As the star goes, the rest of the team will follow and as a Knicks fan you have to really like what you have seen from Anthony. He is following through on everything he said throughout the offseason thus far, albeit through only two games. Anthony had a very efficient game Sunday afternoon against the 76ers; scoring 27 points on 18 shot attempts and if that continues the Knicks will be a very difficult team to beat.
Beating a team on back-to-back nights is very difficult and Anthony understands that.
“I mean, the X’s and O’s go out the window at this point. We know what they’re going to do. They know what we’re going to do,” said Anthony. “Pretty sure (76ers) coach (Doug) Collins is going to make some adjustments, so it’s just a matter of us going out there and competing.”
The 76ers are going to come out fired up being home and trying to get some revenge from Sunday afternoon. The Knicks will need to make the necessary adjustments and that falls on the coaching staff and head coach Mike Woodson. Some added wrinkles to the Knicks sets should keep the 76ers on their toes, as the Knicks will have a chance in every game this season with the potential Anthony has of scoring 40 points in at the snap of fingers.