New York: Fresh off an impressive win over Miami in the home opener, the Knicks returned to MSG Training Center on Saturday afternoon for a practice session. Tyson Chandler did not participate in practice due to flu-like symptoms and head coach Mike Woodson said he is probable for the contest against the Sixers on Sunday. The team will face its first back-to-back of the season by hosting Philadelphia and then traveling to the Sixers gym for another matchup on Monday evening.
Philadelphia: Despite missing Andrew Bynum for the season opener, the Sixers debut was a success as back-up center Spencer Hawes filled in nicely on Halloween night. Philadelphia spoiled Andre Iguodala’s return to the City of Brotherly Love and notched its first win of the 2012-13 season. As Philadelphia enters a stretch of two straight games against the Knicks, Bynum is not expected to return to the floor, which means Hawes will receive a bulk of the minutes at the center spot. Iguodala was a major piece to the blockbuster trade that eventually landed Bynum in Philly this offseason and moved Dwight Howard to Los Angeles. The Sixers also added Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright, and Nick Young after upsetting the Bulls in last year’s playoffs.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks dominated the defending champs in a 104-84 victory on Friday. Carmelo Anthony led New York with a game-high 30 points in the win.
Philadelphia: Hawes scored 16 points and grabbed 12 boards to help the Sixers top Denver 84-75 on Wednesday night.
The Numbers Game
New York nailed 19 3-pointers on Friday night and shot an incredible 52.8% percent from downtown as a team. Philadelphia is coming off an eye-opening defensive effort against one of the best offensive squads in the league. The Sixers limited Denver to just 75 points in their home opener.
Match-up to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Thaddeus Young
Once again, the Knicks will face a team with a small-ball type of lineup. Sixers head coach Doug Collins opted to not start Hawes in their first game of the season and he utilized a frontcourt featuring Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, and Lavoy Allen. New York can match a small lineup by rolling with the starting five from Friday night. Anthony played at the power forward spot for a majority of the game and he has obviously flourished when moving closer to the rim. While these two players will not necessarily defend each other for the entire contest, it’s worth noting the impact they will have on the outcome of the game. Young is a long and athletic forward with a knack for scoring in the paint. On the opposite side, Anthony must pick his spots, finding the right moment to attack or set up his teammates for scoring opportunities.
What to Look For
In a low scoring game, Philadelphia managed to score 21 fast break points against Denver on Tuesday night. Assistant coach Darrell Walker said the Knicks are focused on taking care of the basketball and searching for quality shots to negate the Sixers transition game. If New York can control the tempo in its second outing of the year, the Madison Square Garden fans will be treated to another home win with the orange and blue out to a 2-0 start.