Knicks-76ers Preview


After Phil Jackson acknowledged a rousing ovation with a wave in his first game as team president, the New York Knicks gave the fans something else to cheer about during another victory.

There hasn't been too much to get excited about in Philadelphia with the 76ers free-falling toward NBA history.

The Knicks hope to keep moving toward a playoff spot with their eighth straight win Friday night when they visit a Philadelphia team looking to avoid its 23rd straight defeat.

Jackson met with coaches and players early Wednesday, then watched from a seat above center court as New York (28-40) continued its surge with a 92-86 victory over Eastern Conference-leading Indiana.

Carmelo Anthony finished with 34 points, Amar'e Stoudemire scored 21 and Tyson Chandler added seven with 14 rebounds. The Knicks' seven straight victories are their most since a 13-game winning streak late last season.

They're still hopeful of securing a postseason berth as they trail eighth-place Atlanta by four games in the East.

''There's energy in the city. Bringing Phil back is huge for this franchise I think,'' coach Mike Woodson said of Jackson, who won two titles with New York as a player before winning 11 as a coach. ''But I've got to give a lot of credit to those guys in the locker room too, because again, we're battling.''

The Knicks averaged 114.5 points on 51.0 percent shooting while winning six straight against non-playoff teams by double digits. But they found a different way to extend the run Wednesday, holding Indiana to 5-of-23 shooting from 3-point range and 42.5 percent overall.

Stoudemire has elevated his play, scoring 18.0 per game - 6.9 above his season average - while playing in seven of the past eight. He's averaged 21.4 points on 73.7 percent shooting (42 for 57) in his last five meetings with Philadelphia.

The 76ers (15-53) certainly don't appear to be much of a threat after their slide continued Wednesday with a 102-94 loss to visiting Chicago. They're four losses shy of matching Cleveland's NBA record of 26 consecutive defeats set in 2010-11.

Thaddeus Young finished with 24 points, Tony Wroten added 17 and Michael Carter-Williams scored 16 as Philadelphia lost its 17th straight at home to move closer to Dallas' record 19-game slide in 1993-94.

''There is just no inch for error,'' said coach Brett Brown, whose club hasn't won since beating Boston 95-94 on the road Jan. 29. ''There's no wiggle room at all.''

The 76ers have averaged 95.0 points and shot 41.3 percent while allowing 112.6 per game on 49.1 percent shooting during the 22-game skid, but they've given the Knicks some trouble despite dropping two of three meetings.

Young and Carter-Williams had 19 apiece to help Philadelphia pull out a 110-106 win in New York on Jan. 22. Carter-Williams then finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double March 10, but Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 28 to help the Knicks escape with a 123-110 home win.

Dating to his time with Denver, Anthony has averaged 18.7 points while shooting 36.0 percent in his last seven trips to Philadelphia. He had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a 102-92 victory there Jan. 11.

The Knicks have won six of eight in Philadelphia.