Knicks vs 76ers Pre Game:
The Knicks are once again shorthanded. Yes, we get to see the debut of Ronnie Brewer at the shooting guard position and yes, this will be Carmelo Anthony’s return to the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University.
I, for one, do not want the major excuse for this season to become the fact that Carmelo and Amar’e have not had a full training camp together. Now is the time to put excuses aside, and there is only one person who can make sure no more excuses are made and that man is Mike Woodson. The Knicks are talented enough to still gel and win a majority of games over the next 2-3 weeks while Stoudemire is out recovering from his ruptured knee cyst.
The solution to the Knicks troubles, in my view, is moving Carmelo Anthony to the power forward position. For tonight’s match-up, Woodson is playing it conservatively by starting Kurt Thomas at the 4, but I have a feeling this is simply to keep the media at bay. The Knicks still have depth and once again on Friday against Toronto, Jason Kidd proved to be effective at the shooting guard spot. I would actually go with a back-court of Felton and Kidd, with Brewer at the small forward and Anthony and Chandler rounding out the front-court. Maybe that becomes an experiment for next Wednesday against the Nets; the Knicks can try this because Pablo Prigioni has proven to be a serviceable (at worst) backup point guard. A second unit with Pablo running the show alongside JR Smith (if he returns), Steve Novak, pick and roll buddy Chris Copeland and Kurt Thomas could do some damage. Copeland is now a lock to make the squad after Saturday’s 34 point outburst.
The Knicks are facing the Sixers, 5-1 thus far this preseason, playing without Andrew Bynum . Thus far, the Sixers have split games with the Nets and have beaten the Celtics twice, including a 32 point spanking. Despite Igulodala moving to Denver and not having Bynum in the early going, they have continued to win by playing team basketball. They will have a different leading scorer on almost every night. In the preseason their leading scorers have been Dorrell Wright, Thaddeus Young and Nick Young. They have a strong core of big men playing around Bynum including Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, Young and Kwame Brown. I believe the key players for Philly will be Evan Turner and Jrue Holliday. Can Holliday become a legit point guard and will Evan Turner become the consistent scorer the 76ers need in the back-court.
I expect the Knicks to come out refocused after losing STAT. They must improve their rebounding against Philly and they should protect the three point line on rotations against Nick Young and Jason Richardson. Luckily for the Knicks, three point shooting is not the 76ers strong suit but youth, hustle and quickness is. The Knicks must put out a solid effort to avoid an embarrassment. The key match-up here will be Evan Turner vs. Ronnie Brewer and keeping Philadelphia off the glass. Let’s go Knicks!
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