Though Philadelphia hasn’t been a tough place to play for visiting teams this season, it certainly has been for the New York Knicks in recent years.
The Knicks are trying to avoid a winless road trip and a 10th consecutive road loss to the 76ers on Wednesday night.
This Atlantic Division rivalry has gone Philadelphia’s way lately, winning the last six meetings and 14 of 16. New York has been particularly bad in the City of Brotherly Love, losing nine straight by an average of 18.0 points since an overtime victory Dec. 17, 2004.
The only matchup this season also went to overtime, with Philadelphia winning 141-127 at New York on Oct. 31. The 76ers blew a 23-point lead but won behind the backcourt of Andre Iguodala(notes) and Louis Williams(notes), who combined for 59 points, 21 rebounds and 15 assists.
Offense might not come as easily Wednesday considering the Knicks (15-22) have been much better defensively, allowing an average of 95.7 points in the last 18 games after giving up 109.1 per game during a 4-15 start.
However, New York’s defense has taken a step back on its three-game road trip. The Knicks had won three in a row before losing 105-96 to Houston on Saturday and 106-88 to Oklahoma City on Monday night.
They had given up 100 points in just two other games since Dec. 4.
“There are nights like this,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’ll just throw it down the toilet and we’ll be ready for Philadelphia on Wednesday.”
Al Harrington(notes), second on the Knicks with 18.1 points per game, scored nine in 17 minutes as he returned after missing two games with a strained left calf. Harrington set a team record for a bench player with his career-high 42 points against Philadelphia this season.
“He’s got to assert himself a little bit and we need that from him,” D’Antoni said. “This is a good learning experience.”
The good news for Gallinari, the league leader with 97 3-pointers, is that Philadelphia (12-25) is the NBA’s worst team defending the 3-point arc, letting opponents hit 41.4 percent.
The 76ers also have been a poor home team at 5-12. Only league-worst New Jersey has fewer home wins (2-15).
Philadelphia had given up more than 100 points in five straight home games and had lost four in a row at the Wachovia Center until defeating New Orleans 96-92 on Monday.
“We were a little angry and I thought it helped us,” said Elton Brand(notes), who fouled out with 18 points. “We played with a purpose in the fourth quarter. I think this win will give us a nice boost of confidence.”
First-year coach Eddie Jordan could probably use one of those from 76ers management. Team president Ed Stefanski recently refused to say if Jordan would last the rest of the season, though Jordan said Monday it didn’t bother him.