Knicks vs. 76ers: Why Early-Season Matchup Is Key for Both Teams

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Knicks vs. 76ers: Why Early-Season Matchup Is Key for Both Teams
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
Carmelo Anthony dropped 27 points yesterday, but can he repeat the same success tonight?

On the second night of a back-to-back, the New York Knicks hit the road for the first time this season against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Wells Fargo Arena. Yesterday, the Knicks looked solid, with a 16-point win against a Sixers team that is still without Andrew Bynum.

Although it's still early in the season, this matchup will have serious implications closer to the playoffs, as both teams will look to win the Atlantic Division and have home-court advantage for the playoffs. 

The Knicks have looked stellar so far on the defensive end—allowing no more than 84 points in two straight home victories against the Miami Heat Friday night and the Sixers just yesterday afternoon. If New York can continue to shut down opponents on the road like they have at home, the Knicks will certainly be a force to be reckoned with considering their ability to score at will.

The Sixers on the other hand will be looking to shut down a Knicks offense that has looked unstoppable thanks to their barrage of three-pointers—in two games, the Knicks have shot over 47 percent from beyond the arc with more than 63 attempted three-pointers.

Philly looked solid in a 10-point win over the Denver Nuggets opening night, but last night was certainly a wake-up call for a Sixers team with high hopes this season. Despite the loss of Andrew Bynum, maintaining a semblance of consistency early on will give the young Sixers squad some confidence as the season progresses.

For the Sixers, it will come down to reducing their turnovers and shutting down the Knicks' perimeter attack. After conceding 18 turnovers and allowing the Knicks' transition offense to get in rhythm, the Knicks rolled their way to a convincing victory yesterday in Madison Square Garden.

Philly will want to slow the game down and keep Carmelo and the Knicks' shooters in check. Carmelo scored a game-high 27 points last night, and despite his offseason workouts, Sixers forward Thaddeus Young's added bulk (via csnphilly.com) did little to stop Carmelo. 

Despite Sunday's disappointing loss, the Sixers are still four-point home favorites, and they will certainly look to bounce back and split the season series at one game apiece.

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