Friday, March 21, 2014

W2W4: New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers; March 21st, 2014

Written By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Friday, March 21st, 2014

New York Knicks vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pre-Game News and Notes

The New York Knicks are in the midst of playing their best basketball of the season, reeling off seven straight wins. They will look to continue the good play and winning streak tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers, owners of their own lengthy streak. The 76ers are currently riding a franchise long 22-game losing streak and do not look like they will be ending it any time soon. The Knicks have to come in and handle business against a team that is more concerned with getting a top draft pick than winning games at the end of the season. Here are some news and notes to help get the Knicks the victory tonight.

Match-Up of the Game: Carmelo Anthony vs. Thaddeus Young
When the 76ers started moving players at the trade deadline, Thaddeus Young was one expected to go. The versatile forward would have fit nicely in almost any front court in the NBA, but he was the one player the 76ers decided to keep. Even though the expectations for the team were rock bottom right from the start of the season, Young has played well, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, assists and steals. He will be matched up throughout the night with Anthony, being tasked with slowing down the Knicks best player.

Carmelo Anthony has played well all season and has continued it throughout the winning streak. He will give Young everything he can handle tonight. Look for Anthony to come out aggressive early and often as the Knicks will try and put the 76ers away early and cruise to a victory.

Pre-Game News and Notes:

The Knicks still have no timetable set for the return of Kenyon Martin or Andrea Bargnani. Martin seems to be closer and more likely to return of the two. He would have be a seamless addition to the rotation as his main job would be playing defense and rebounding while Bargnani was a big part of the Knicks offensive plans and had trouble fitting in with some players. Cole Aldrich should continue seeing time as the reserve big man with the positive results he has produced recently.

For the 76ers, James Anderson will be a game-time decision. If he is unable to go, expect to see a lot more of Tony Wroten. Wroten, who gave the Knicks problems in their last meeting, is an athletic wing who likes to get to the basket. He is far more explosive and aggressive than Anderson and would give the Knicks a lot more problems; Anderson is more of a three-point specialist.

-Control From the Start

It is imperative for the Knicks to get off to a strong start. If they are able to take the lead early on and build on it they can take the 76ers out of the game right away. The 76ers are a young team that cannot be given hope; the longer they are in the game the more dangerous they will be. It would be best for the Knicks to take them out early and not let them build any confidence. On a 22-game losing streak they will grab onto the faintest of hopes and try to ride that to a victory.

-Strong Guard Play Continuing

The Knicks guard play improving has coincided with the winning streak. Since J.R. Smith has been inserted into the starting lineup everything seems to be clicking. He has begun shooting the ball better and everyone now knows their roles. Tim Hardaway Jr. looks much more comfortable as the only scoring guard off the bench and the intangibles that Iman Shumpert brings fits in better with the second unit.

Also playing better throughout the streak is Raymond Felton. He will have his hands full tonight against potential NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams is having a solid season for the 76ers, but is turnover prone and struggles to shoot the ball at times. If Felton and the rest of the guards can slow him down they will have a much easier time taking down the 76ers.

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