REELING IN THE KNICKS

Posted by: Kevin Jones
02/14/11 2:05 pm EST

My oh my are things shaping up our 76ers way in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference. 

Without even a sniff of an all-star on the roster, Doug Collins has transformed his young team into a squad that plays some of the best fundamental basketball in the League.  The 76ers rank near the top in the League in limiting turnovers, bench points and assists.

Rarely are the Sixers able to produce two 20-point scorers together.  Rarely (Until recently) are the Sixers able to play consistently on the road.  And rarely do the Sixers play their best basketball in the fourth quarter.

For so long on this website we’ve been trying to peg down a player on the Sixers who can time after time become the teams closer.  But at the very moment, I would argue that having numerous options — Lou, Andre, Jrue and Elton — will help this team in close games during the fourth.  

The team that stands directly in front of the 7-6 just happens to be the slumping New York Knicks, who’ve by the way have lost 11 of their last 16 games.  New York peaked too early thanks to fresh legs and a new superstar in Amare Stoudemire.  The Knicks strong start had nearly all League experts and bloggers wondering if the Knicks could not only make the playoffs, but push for the second round.

Then January hit.  Opposing coaches began to recall ways to beat Mike D’Antoni’s system: slow the game down.  And even some of the Knicks players have begun to slow on D’Antoni’s frantic pace.  The losing skid has fans begging for a blockbuster trade to land Carmelo Anthony.

Both of these teams are likely to lose in the first round.  But as we’ve learned from recent history, gaining a playoff berth is often more valuable for rebuilding than tanking and receiving a lottery pick to waste on a risky rookie. 

The Sixers currently trail New York by 1.5 games (2 full games in the loss column), but let’s ignore the current standing for a minute and take a look at when the Sixers will catch the Knicks in the standings because it’s not a matter of “if”, but a question of “when” it will happen. 

Knicks Opponent Previous Outcome(s) Predicted Outcome Sixers Opponent Previous Outcome(s) Predicted Outcome
vs. Hawks on 2/16
  1. L 99-90
  2. L 112-102
W @Memphis on 2/15 L 99-94 W
vs. Bucks on 2/23 L 107-80 L @Houston on 2/16 N/A L
@Cavs on 2/25 L 109-102 OT W vs. Washington on 2/23
  1. L 116-115
  2. OTL 116-114
  3. W 109-97
W
@Heat on 2/27
  1. L 113-91
  2. L 106-98
  3. W 93-88
L vs. Detroit on 2/25 L 112-109 W
@Magic on 3/01 L 112-103 L @Cleveland on 2/27
  1. L 123-116
  2. L 101-93
  3. W 117-97
W

 

The Sixers upcoming schedule is their easiest stretch of games remaining in the season.  The five opponents are a combined 99-175.  What’s sad is that the Sixers could already be leading the Knicks if it weren’t for four losses to upcoming opponents the Wizards and Cavs.  Who as we all know are two of the worst teams in recent memory.

The Knicks on the other hand are playing three teams (Hawks, Heat & Magic) who will likely be ahead of them in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  The Knicks also have a run vs. the finally 100% healthy Bucks who play some of the best defense in the League.

These predictions may lean a little towards the wishful thinking section.  Some will even call me a “homer”.

Still, the Sixers are hot and the Knicks are not (to say the least) and there is not a single reason why the 76ers should lose any of their first three games back after the NBA all-star break.  Thus Philadunkia’s home team will take over 6th place in the East before the end of February.

So with the 6th seed on lock, let’s take aim at reeling in the Hawks (who have lost two in a row) and grabbing the five seed.

(Hey we can dream, can’t we?)


 
 
 

5 Responses to “REELING IN THE KNICKS”

  1. Sloetry
    14. February 2011 at 19:41

    Nice… your point about no 2 Sixers getting 20 points+…. that’s what also makes us so tough to play…. if you’re the opposition, who are you going to put your key defensive players on? There is a nice healthy scoring balance developing.

    Is it me, or does Evan Turner appear to have the most potential as a natural great passer of the ball. When he invades the key, he has made some instinctively great passes recently.

    Looking to how we build over the next couple of years to a contender…. how does the CBA affect our chances of picking up cheaper players (eg. a centre), or do we still need to shake of either AI’s or Brand’s contract? Right now, I wouldn’t want to lose either of those guys. I don’t know enough about the CBA or cap space to comment.

  2. Philadunkia
    14. February 2011 at 21:05

    Sloetry,

    Given that we are headed for a lockout next year, it’s likely the curent CBA will have little impact on what the Sixers can do with their roster in 2011-12.

    One rumor about the new CBA is that the owners want the max-contract a player can receive to top out at $11 million per year…

  3. Jaw Law
    15. February 2011 at 10:28

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been interested in Sixers basketball. This team, as of late, have me excited about their potential in the immediate future.

    I believe their young legs will be a huge factor in this year playoffs and if they can avoid playing Miami or Chicago in the first round, they’ll have a legit shot at moving on to the second round playoffs. Notice I didn’t mention Boston as a team to avoid because the Sixers match-up fairly well against them believe it or not.

    It has always been the fourth qtr meltdowns that has hurt this team vs Boston but as this season progresses, this team experience will get better at closing out games which spells concerns for their opponents. I believe in Doug Collins and his fundamental system for this team and when the playoffs begin, this will not be a team you’d want to face.

    Their is nothing trade wise that’s going to make this team better and you can see they are building great chemistry together. Finally, I can watch the Sixers without already knowing what the outcome is going to be before the game hits the calender day. Go Sixers!

  4. Juney
    15. February 2011 at 13:25

    I think we are doing a lot better with Collins at coach he is letting them play there game, we need one big man that can play defense or C. Anthony or a Blake Griffin type of player added, go Sixers

    Fan for life

  5. J.R.
    15. February 2011 at 13:35

    Let’s dream… count me in.

    I see Sixers getting 6 seed and playing chicago in playoffs and going to 7 games. it will be fun!

Leave a Reply