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News » 76ers-Knicks Preview 2009-10-31

76ers-Knicks Preview 2009-10-31

76ers-Knicks Preview 2009-10-31It's been four years since the New York Knicks opened a season with three straight losses. Facing the Philadelphia 76ers could make it difficult to prevent that from happening again.

Adding to the New York-Philadelphia sports-themed weekend, the Knicks open their home schedule looking to snap a five-game losing streak to the 76ers on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

While this contest doesn't carry the same luster as the Yankees-Phillies World Series games this weekend or the Giants-Eagles NFL matchup Sunday all in Philadelphia, it means something to the parties involved.

"I can't stand those guys right now, all three of those (New York) teams," said Philadelphia forward Elton Brand, who grew up in suburban Westchester, N.Y. "It's a huge weekend, especially with football, baseball. Right now, ours doesn't have much importance, but it's still a rivalry."

Philadelphia, which last season swept the four-game series from New York for the first time since 1985-86, looks for its second straight victory after bouncing back from a dismal season-opening loss with a 99-86 win over Milwaukee on Friday.

New York, meanwhile, looks to avoid losing its first three games for the first time since an 0-5 start in 2005-06. The Knicks fell 102-100 in double overtime at Charlotte on Friday, after falling 115-93 at Miami on Wednesday.

While the 76ers contributed to the Knicks' miserable 32-50 mark last season, they've won 13 of 15 over New York and five of seven at MSG. Philadelphia averaged 111.8 points and shot 53.1 percent against New York in 2008-09.

After each were held to eight points Wednesday against Orlando, Andre Iguodala scored 19 points and Brand added 17 on Friday for the 76ers as they put forth a much better effort than against the Magic, who led by as many as 31 in the 120-106 win.

"It was a great bounce-back game from that embarrassing Orlando loss," said Brand, who was 2 for 7 from the floor against the Magic, but 6 for 11 on Friday.

First-year 76ers coach Eddie Jordan was not concerned about the slow start from Iguodala, who averaged a team-leading 18.8 points last season, and hopes Brand's latest effort will help his cause.

Brand averaged 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds, but was limited to 29 games due a shoulder injury last season - his first in Philadelphia.

"He's banging, he's fighting in there, he's in the trenches," Jordan said. "When you feel like things are going your way, it sort of builds your momentum."

Brand is averaging 21.2 points in 20 games against New York, but was held to six in 13 minutes of Philadelphia's 116-110 home win Jan. 24.

Al Harrington, who averaged 20.3 points against the 76ers last season, was one of three players with 17 Friday for the Knicks, who rallied from an 18-point, fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime.

David Lee had 17 points and 18 rebounds while second-year forward Danilo Gallinari added 16 after scoring 22 in the opener. New York rallied despite shooting 38.8 percent and trailing 47-26 at one point to the lowly Bobcats.

"Our worries are trying to get the right combinations on the floor and play like we did for part of the game," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "If we can bottle that, keep it, then we'll be fine."

The Knicks, whose 44.5 field-goal percentage was among the lowest in the NBA last season, is shooting 38.4 after two contests. New York shot 42.5 percent against Philadelphia in 2008-09.

Lee, however, could be in store for another big night after averaging 16.3 points and 10.7 boards against Philadelphia last season.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 31, 2009


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