The Sixers are coming off a loss to Boston on Wednesday night and blew a 21-point lead to the Knicks on Sunday, so they’ll be looking to avoid a three-game losing streak and get started on their final push toward the playoffs.
Sixers vs Knicks game info
Who: New York Knicks (30-26) at Philadelphia 76ers (34-19)
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia Pa.
When: 7:00 pm EST
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Sixers vs Knicks betting info
Spread: Sixers -6.5 | Knicks +6.5
Moneyline: Sixers -210 | Knicks +250
Total: Over/Under 220
For the Sixers:
The Sixers were quiet at the trade deadline, having not addressed the biggest issue which is the backup center position. They did swap Matisse Thybulle for Jalen McDaniels in a three-team deal with the Trailblazers and Hornets. (It’s not certain that McDaniels will suit up for the Sixers tonight.) It’s been obvious for quite a while that Montrezl Harrell is not working out as the backup to All-Star Center Joel Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers seems to be refusing to give Paul Reed any shot at snatching that role.
The problems don’t stop there. Tyrese Maxey was supposed to be part of a “three lineup” set that Rivers would be using throughout the remainder of the season. Except, Maxey has just been the sixth man, with DeAnthony Melton getting the starts. This experiment has failed miserably as Melton isn’t consistent and Maxey isn’t succeeding. The rotation needs to be fixed so that instances like relinquishing a 21-point lead, simply don’t happen.
If the Sixers are going to get back to be as dominating as they were for the past two months, Maxey has to be starting and playing with Harden on the floor. The reserves should be spaced out and maybe, just try what we were told last year, that one combination of Embiid, Harden, and Maxey will be on the floor at all times.
For the Knicks:
The Knicks are riding a two-game win streak after beating the Sixers on Sunday and the Magic on Tuesday. At the trade deadline they picked up Josh Hart (who is also unknown to be playing tonight). Julis Randle is leading the Knicks, as an All-Star reserve this season, with 24.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Combined with Jalen Brunson who’s averaging 23.2 points per game and RJ Barrett averaging 20.1 points per game, the Knicks have a formidable trio anchoring their team.
After the big three for the Knicks, there’s not much there and they’re overachieving, currently in 7th place in the Eastern Conference. While not loaded with stars, the Knicks play with grit and can’t be overlooked as they showed on Sunday against the Sixers. Quentin Grimes had 13 points, Even Fournier had 17 points, and Miles McBride chipped in 14 points on Sunday, which saw the Sixers lose their lead as the Knicks took advantage of the bench unit playing extended minutes together.
After two wins in a row, they are going to be riding high but will be doing so running an angry Sixers team and it may not be enough to overcome.
What to look for:
The Knicks will be hoping that Sixers coach Doc Rivers keeps up his bench unit being on the floor, together, for extended minutes and they can take advantage of the lack of defense that unit provides. For the Sixers, they’re going to be looking for a win. They’re not wanting to be riding a three-game losing streak as they play back-to-back nights against the Knicks and then the Nets.
Joel Embiid has been and looks to continue to be as dominating as he’s been in his career. The key is the Sixers getting Maxey involved with the starters and having his comfort with Harden restored, getting him back to the player that showed up last season and earlier this season. This should be an easier game for the Sixers but not one to look past.
Prediction: Sixers 121 – Knicks 113
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Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire