The New York Knicks are in town to take on the Sixers hoping that the addition of OG Anunoby will help boost them from 8th place in the Eastern Conference up to a better position for the playoffs. The Sixers, for their part, are currently in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference and just one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks. With the return of Joel Embiid to the lineup, earlier in the week, the Sixers are looking to put together a good string of games to start the new year.
Sixers vs Knicks Game Info
Who: New York Knicks (19-15) at Philadelphia 76ers (23-10)
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA
Watch: ESPN, ESPN 2, MSG Network
Sixers vs Knicks betting info
Spread: Sixers -6 | Knicks +6
Moneyline: Sixers -225 | Knicks +185
Total: Over/Under 231
Best Sixers betting offers
Latest on the Sixers
Current MVP front-runner, center Joel Embiid returned to the lineup on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls after missing the previous four games with a right ankle sprain. It didn’t take the reigning MVP long to get his legs back under him as he had 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists in the first half.
Embiid would finish with a triple-double on 31 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists while sitting out the fourth quarter, again, which has become customary when the Sixers build big leads like they’d in Chicago.
With Embiid back, Tyrese Maxey got himself back into a better flow, finishing with 21 points and 5 assists in only 29 minutes of play. The better part for Maxey is that he shot 4-7 on his three-point attempts and 6-12 overall from the field after having a rough week shooting with Embiid out.
The team will be missing DeAnthony Melton tonight as he’s battled a back injury and will be missing his third straight game. The Sixers won’t have an easy time with the Knicks but the depth they have along with general good health overall, will allow them to slow down the Knicks. They’ll get some quality minutes from Pat Beverly, Marcus Morris Sr., Jaden Springer, and Paul Reed. Everyone that was active saw minutes against the Bulls and they could be looking at a similar situation tonight.
Latest on the Knicks
The Knicks will be playing their third game with newly acquired OG Anunoby being the big piece that they got in exchange for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickly. In his first two games with the Knicks, Anunoby is averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds but his defense has always been his calling card.
In his first game with the Knicks, when he was guarding Anthony Edwards of the Timberwolves, Edwards only managed four shot attempts. While OG will not be lighting up the stat sheet with points, his defense and quality three-point shooting are giving the Knicks an added boost.
Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, and Dante DiVincenzo give the Knicks a quality group on the floor and reserves like Josh Hart and Quinten Grimes give the Knicks some quality depth. They can keep up with almost anyone in the league and their defense only is improved by having Anunoby on the roster. The Knicks will present a real problem for opposing teams going forward.
One issue that already seems to be resolved is that of center Mitchell Robinson and his season-ending injury. Robinson was leading the league in offensive rebounds at 5.3 per game and his defense was helping the Knicks keep their opposition in check.
The next up for the Knicks was 25-year-old Isaiah Hartenstein who did well in his start against the Wolves scoring 7 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while also blocking three shots. Then came their game against the Bulls. Hartenstein had 10 points but added 20 rebounds and 5 blocked shots on the night and the Knicks look to have resolved their center issue before it became one.
Keys to the game
This is the first matchup between the two teams, this season, so they’ll both be getting looks at different lineups from last year. While Anunoby is now part of the Knicks, Tyrese Maxey has become a star this season. With the trade of James Harden, the Sixers roster doesn’t resemble last years at all.
The Sixers depth and quality are going to be too much for the Knicks. Even with the 9th best offensive rating in the league, the Knicks are running into a Sixers team with the second-best defensive rating and 4th best offense in the entire league. What the Sixers have become, with the subtraction of James Harden, is a very good team with stars and quality depth. The Knicks, while just getting this new version of the team together don’t possess those qualities yet.
The game will be a good test for the Sixers defense as the Knicks will be able to put up some points and the defense of the Sixers is going to have to step up and hold their own against an exciting and new lineup for New York.
For the Knicks, they’re going to hope that Hartenstein can provide some sort of resistance to the domination that Embiid has unleashed throughout the league this whole season. The real success for the Knicks, if you can call it that, will be if Embiid is playing in the fourth quarter. If he’s not, that means that the game is out of reach and he’s already done enough damage. If Embiid is on the court, they’ll know that they’re in the game but they’re more than likely out of it, if he’s still there. It’s a double-edged sword for any team facing the Sixers this season.
Sixers vs Knicks Prediction
Sixers 125 – Knicks 117