Knicks to face banged-up 76ers at opportune time in the season

NBA: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks, dealing with a slate of injuries themselves, will face a shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers team at an advantageous point in the season.

The Knicks (37-26) and the Sixers (35-28) are only separated by two games in the standings. New York is vying for playoff home-court advantage. Giving Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson momentum upon their returns will help drive a late surge.

Knicks to take on struggling 76ers without their two best players on Sunday

On Sunday, the Knicks won’t have to deal with Philadelphia’s reigning MVP Joel Embiid and potentially Tyrese Maxey, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Post shared:

The status of Tyrese Maxey, who missed the past three games after suffering a concussion, is up in the air for Sunday, but Nurse seemed optimistic about his All-Star’s availability, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer,” Bondy said.

“They’re fourth in the East but just two games ahead of the No. 7 Sixers (35-28), who are an X-factor in the playoffs because of Embiid’s possible return, but are trying to avoid the play-in tournament.”

The 76ers have lost three in a row and are hanging on to their play-in seeding at No. 7 in the East. However, in that stretch, they’re averaging the third-most second-chance points (17.7 points) per game and receiving strong play from their frontcourt.

The Knicks will need Precious Achiuwa and Isaiah Hartenstein to contain the Sixers’ interior. That will help them capitalize off of the excess of 61 points that will be left for their remaining lineup to make up.

New York can capitalize off of a win against Philadelphia and create space in the standings

On a positive note, Jalen Brunson’s return on Friday fueled their 98-74 win over the Orlando Magic. His presence will be most important in downing the Sixers. Conversely, the Sixers will heavily rely on Tobias Harris to shoulder the offensive load.

Nonetheless, the Knicks are 2-0 against the 76ers in their season series so far. They secured their first 128-92 victory with Joel Embiid in the lineup and their more recent 110-96 win on Feb. 22 without him. New York can distance themselves from the Magic at the No. 4 slot in the East with a win.

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