The Philadelphia 76ers host the surprising New York Knicks tonight and it is a very big game. The Knicks currently are in 6th place in the Eastern conference with a record of 25-23 and are three games ahead of the Sixers (23-25). The Sixers have been playing great basketball as of late, winning eight of their last 11 games. They are coming off of a 106-92 victory against the New Jersey Nets in which Jrue Holiday recorded his first career triple-double. Guard Lou Williams also played very well, scoring 26 points. Williams has been arguably the Sixers’ best player as of late. He is averaging 17.4 points-per-game off the bench over the last 10 games. Holiday and Williams will have to continue to play well if the Sixers want to keep on their winning ways.
As for the Knicks, these aren’t the Knicks that we’ve seen over the last couple of years. They’ve been known as the laughing-stock of the NBA. The Knicks were one of the teams that were a serious player for superstar LeBron James but ended up losing out to that team from South Beach. They did add Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton which have paid immediate dividends. Stoudemire is putting up MVP-type numbers in New York City this year. He is averaging 26.1 points-per-game and almost nine rebounds per contest this year. Stoudemire has carried the Knicks to a winning record and the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Felton is looking to be the point guard that they have been searching for. After failed experiments with players like Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson, Felton is quietly having a very good season, averaging 17.9 points-per-game and nearly nine assists per game. These are two players that the Sixers need to account for at all times if they want to win these two games against their neighbors from New York.
One thing that I would like to see is Doug Collins playing Mareese Speights more at center over Spencer Hawes. Hawes has little offensive game and doesn’t played tough-nosed defense or block many shots. Sure Speights doesn’t give you very much at the defensive end but his offensive skill-set is clearly superior to Hawes. Speights can put up some nice numbers on the offensive end when he is given the chance. I would like to see Speights starting once in a while. It’s clear what Hawes gives you and that sure isn’t much.