This ‘the Eagles finally have a real middle linebacker’ edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews key upcoming 76ers games — features tonight’s opponent, the surging New York Knickerbockers.
To be honest, we once again debated whether or not to write this preview. Yes we know the Knicks have won 4 straight under Mike Woodson – vs. POR; vs. IND; @ IND and vs. TOR. And yes we know that NYK’s superstars ‘Melo and Amare have recently been playing with more urgency after they got D’Antoni fired. And yes we know New York’s defense has improved. And yes we know that New York beat Indiana twice in a back-to-back set of games — the same Indiana team that recently manhandled the 76ers. Finally, we also realize that Linsanity has returned to form in his last three games and is averaging 16.6 points, 7 dimes and 5 boards per night over that stretch.
To be honest, we don’t care. The Sixers should win this one easily because they are the better team and thus tonight is not a “big” game in our eyes. This is the same group of Knicks that rode Linsanity to unbelievable heights only to crash and burn. It’s also the same hapless group of Knicks the Sixers pounded into the ground at the WFC last Sunday and I expect similar outcome tonight. Why?? I’ll tell you why. The NYK don’t have the heart or character to do what it takes to win on a consistent basis in this League – play solid defense every night.
So, tonight the Sixers should use this formula to bring home another W. Let the Knicks play iso ball all night and allow ‘Melo to shoot 15+ times in order to score 17 points. ‘Melo’s frequenting hoisting will render Amare a non-factor. Then have Holiday and Turner handle Lin. Use the “Night Shift” to build a cushion in the second quarter and come out of the locker room after the half and deliver the knockout blow with suffocating defense, thus sending the Knicks on another downward cycle in their rollercoaster season. Ohh yeah, and be sure to score 100 points so everyone gets free Big Macs.
For a little more insight into the Knicks team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Mike Kurylo from KnickerBlogger.net to answer four questions on the improved Knicks from us here at Philadunkia.
Philadunkia: Since the firing of Mike D’antoni, the NYK are now 4-0. So is the recent surge in play sustainable (“for real”) or is this just another upswing in a crazy season for the NYK?
Mike Kurylo @ KnickerBlogger.net: I kinda answered this question the other day, and I still think it’s too early to tell. We might not know the truth until the season is over.
Philadunkia: Has the recent solid play of the NYKs been a result of a change in X&Os or simply Amare, Melo and company playing all out as they realize that if they fail after Dantonio’s firing they’ll look ridiculous?
Mike Kurylo @ KnickerBlogger.net: Mike Woodson has insisted that he’s kept the offense the same, but that’s not true. He’s kept some of the plays, but removed others. That subtle shift has allowed Woodson to not disrespect D’Antoni’s legacy publicly while giving the Knicks a new philosophy.
Philadunkia: What are / were your thoughts on D’antoni’s firing?
Mike Kurylo @ KnickerBlogger.net: Two events that foreshadowed D’Antoni’s exit were the Tyson Chandler signing and the addition of Mike Woodson as assistant coach. With Chandler aboard, the Knicks were signaling that the rebuild was over and that they were ready to compete. Mike Woodson was the sword of Damocles over D’Antoni’s head.
Philadunkia: What about the Sixers concerns you for tonight’s game?
Mike Kurylo @ KnickerBlogger.net: The standings. If the Knicks are going to have a chance of playoff success this year, they need to move up from the 8th spot into at least the 6th spot and avoid meeting the Heat or the Bulls. Since the 6th seed Hawks have the same record as the Sixers, it makes sense for Philly to be the main target. The 4 game difference between New York and Philly isn’t insurmountable, but the Knicks would also need to leapfrog the Celtics to achieve such a lofty goal. Also Evan Turner.