The Knicks are once again at home, this time they face the 76ers as 3.5 point underdogs
I wasn’t too far off in my prediction of the Suns-Knicks game on January 16th. The Suns were favored by 3.5 points, but they ended up beating down New York by a final score of 121-98. Devin Booker shined as always with 29 points, but it was Ricky Rubio and former number one overall pick Deandre Ayton who were the difference makers in that game. Ayton and Rubio combined for 51 points and an average plus-minus of +27.5. Marcus Morris Sr. did end up playing, but he was only able to tally 17 points in the loss. The lone bright spot for the Knicks was Julius Randle, who recorded 26 points and six rebounds. The loss dropped the Knicks’ record to 11-31. Now they will have a tough follow-up game on Saturday against the 76ers.
Philadelphia notched a surprising victory over the Nets this week despite the absence of superstar big man Joel Embiid. It was small forward Tobias Harris who ended up picking up the slack in that one for the 76ers. The 27 year old swing man lead the team with 34 points and also snagged 10 rebounds on his way to an impressive double-double. Philly will once again be without Joel Embiid in their game against the Knicks, but if there game against the Nets is any indication of things to come, then I assume that the 76ers will be just fine against a much weaker Knicks squad.
The Knicks may be playing this game with a depleted roster. According to ESPN, Marcus Morris Sr. is expected to miss this game. Also, RJ Barrett, New York’s top draft pick this past off-season, is questionable for the game after spraining his ankle in the matchup against the Suns. ESPN has also listed Dennis Smith Jr. out in this one. The Knicks will be coming into this game injured and defeated after a tough blowout loss to one of the worse teams in the NBA.
On the other end, the 76ers are actually playing really well right now. They have managed to still contend despite the absence of their best player. Most of the recent success that Philly has had can be attributed to Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. Simmons has been electric in his recent outings. The 2016 number one overall pick has averaged 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists so far this season. Meanwhile, Tobias Harris has averaged almost 20 points per contest in his last ten games with a shooting percentage over 45%. I expect this upcoming game against the Knicks to be no different for these two. The 76ers have the talent to outlast a banged up New York team. This one could become ugly quickly.
This is yet another lost season for the Knicks. There will be no playoff aspirations for this team. The best case scenario is that New York continues to develop young talent like Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, and Kevin Knox. It’s interesting because back in late December, the Knickerbockers managed to put together a three-game win streak, something they did just once last season. However, since that win streak, New York has won just one game in their last eight, a 124-121 squeaker over the Miami Heat. How bad has it been for the Knicks in these past eight games? Their last seven losses have come by a combined total of 126 points. Interestingly enough though, New York has played the 76ers close in the first two meetings they had earlier this season. Philly ended up winning those games 101-95 and 109-104. I think New York will lose this game and just fall short of covering the spread.