Philadelphia 76ers (22-31, 6-17 road) @ New York Knicks (32-20, 19-8 home)
Time: 7:05 ET
Offensive Rating: 76ers – 98.8 (27th), Knicks – 108.3 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: 76ers – 102.3 (12th), Knicks – 103.4 (16th)
Vegas: New York -10.5
This needs to be repeated: the Sixers, without Thaddeus Young, are one of the worst basketball teams in the association. His injury has transformed Philly from mediocre/below average to a team that loses to Miami by 24 points at home on a good night.
UPDATE (5:50 p.m.): Thaddeus Young says he will “give it a go” tonight.
Tonight, the shell of its former .500-self plays a Knicks squad on a four-game losing streak. It’s the second night of a back-to-back at MSG and it’s also a game against a professional basketball team not from Orlando. Looks like a loss to me, but the Knicks aren’t necessarily the model for consistency. On Wednesday they let up 74 points at halftime and shot 5-of-28 from 3-point land in a 34-point loss to the Pacers. And against the Sixers on Jan. 6, they lost by 17 and shot 4-of-27 from the three. It’s going to take that kind of miserable shooting night for the Sixers to have a chance.
New York coming in: Road loss to Toronto on Friday. On four-game losing streak
Three things to watch:
1. Holiday feast. Jrue scored a career-high 35 points when the Sixers beat the Bockers a few weeks ago, shooting 16-of-25. The Knicks threw all their guards at Jrue, even J.R. Smith for a few plays, but most of his success came against Raymond Felton.
2. Arnett and Charlie. Moultrie barely played last night and Charlie Jenkins got a DNPCD in his first game with the Sixers. I imagine Jenkins was up all night studying Doug Collins’ playbook and he’ll be ripe for a four-minute run.
3. The Knicks’ small lineup/defending Melo. Kidd, Felton, and Iman Shumpert all start in the Knicks’ backcourt with Melo playing at the four. I can’t see the Sixers sticking Lavoy Allen on Melo – Thad guarded him last game with Damien Wilkins spelling Thad. Not sure what they’ll do with the starting lineup, but look for Wilkins to get a lot of PT.
Tip is at 7:05. Tom will have the reactions after the game and if you’re lucky he’ll throw in a movie reference or two.