Another first for your 2009-2010 Sixers tonight in New York, their first back-to-back of the season. Oddly enough, the Sixers will actually be the better rested team heading into the game.
I'm not going to pussyfoot around it, the New York Knicks are a pitiful franchise in every imaginable way. Isiah Thomas' stink will take years to wash away, they've been banking on making a huge splash in free agency this summer, but I don't see any reason why one of the top free agents would even consider joining this talentless lot. Mike D'Antoni's gimmick system is exposed by a roster devoid of talent. Their star power is nonexistent. They don't even own their draft pick in 2010, a lock to be a lottery pick, having traded it away for Stephon Marbury, back when he was slightly less insane.
Long story short, this game has to be another win. The Knicks played in Charlotte last night and managed to hold on through 2 overtimes before finally succumbing to the Bobcats, 102-100. So they will have traveled further than the Sixers, and played more minutes in the front end of their back-to-back, which should be another advantage to the Sixers, though they really shouldn't need it.
The Knicks offense essentially consists of jacking threes. That's it, just shoot threes. In two games, they've attempted 75 threes, making 25.3%. Their number one draft pick from two seasons ago, Danillo Gallinari, has attempted 25 shots through the first two games, 20 of them have been threes. He's actually shot them well, hitting 10. I'll do the math for you, that means the rest of the team has made 9 of their 55 attempts from deep, 16.4%. But still, they shoot!.
The Knicks have no interior game, not much of a penetration threat. Their joke offense is actually stout compared to their porous defense. This. Game. Must. Be. A. Win. Period.
The Sixers don't need to get creative, all they need to do is attack the rim in the form of drives or post up opportunities. The Knicks are loathe to defend, and even if they cared about defense, they don't have the personnel to follow through on it. If their lack of talent wasn't bad enough, they insist on exacerbating the situation by playing Jarred Jeffries heavy minutes, basically hoping he can inflate his trade value so they can free up more cap space to sign third-tier free agents next summer.
I'm expecting big games from everyone wearing a Sixers jersey and possibly 50 three point attempts for the Knicks. The only way I see the Knicks even keeping this one close is if they get unbelievably hot from downtown. Play the defense from the outside in, crowd perimeter players, funnel them to Sammy and Brand in the paint, don't give them room to take good threes. I have a hunch that instead of working for hoops, they'll settle for bad threes.
Key to the game: Punishment
If _________________ the Sixers will win: New York makes less than 20 threes.
This is your game thread, so enjoy. I'll be here at the beginning of the game, then I'll be watching the rest on DVR when game 2 of the series is over. Let's go Sixers!