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Knicks-76ers Preview

Knicks-76ers Preview
The New York Knicks proved capable of running new coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo offense in their season-opening win. Their play on the defensive end, though, could use some improvement.

Coming off an impressive offensive performance in its first game of 2008-09, New York travels to Philadelphia on Friday to meet a 76ers team that struggled to make shots in its opener.

D'Antoni was hired to replace Isiah Thomas after the Knicks went 23-59 in 2007-08 to finish with a losing record for the seventh straight season. D'Antoni came from Phoenix, where he went 253-136 in nearly five full seasons and won three Pacific Division titles.

The Suns led the NBA in scoring three times under D'Antoni, and the Knicks got off to a good start offensively in a 120-115 victory over Miami on Wednesday. Jamal Crawford scored 29 points and Zach Randolph added 20 for New York, which saw a 23-point lead in the third quarter cut to three in the final minute of the game.

"I just liked the overall play," D'Antoni said. "I think those last five minutes ... we kind of shut it down. We can't do that. We're not that good to be able to do that."

Former starters Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry, two of the Knicks' top scorers over the last few seasons, didn't play in the opener. Marbury, earning nearly $22 million in the final year of his contract, said he understood D'Antoni's decision to sit him.

"He should do whatever he feels he should do. I can't control what he does. He's the coach," Marbury said. "If this is what it is, I mean there's always next year."

D'Antoni said Marbury and Curry shouldn't give up just yet.

"There's certain guys I want to see and make sure and it's a delicate situation. Steph's been great. It hasn't been his fault," D'Antoni said. "I know he's not going to be happy about it and I wouldn't be either, but the team goes on two different tracks. One is for the future and one is for trying to win now.

"I know it's not a great situation for him and so is Eddy, it's not a great situation. But nothing is closed. No door is closed. We'll see how it goes forward."

Philadelphia is looking to take another step forward after reaching the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004-05, but played poorly in a 95-84 loss at home to Toronto in its opener on Wednesday.

The Sixers shot 34.5 percent from the field, missed 15 of 20 3-point attempts and had 15 assists to 18 turnovers. They allowed the Raptors to go 10-for-16 from beyond the arc.

"It's disappointing," said Elton Brand, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds in his Sixers debut after signing a five-year, $79.8 million contract over the summer. "We just had some breakdowns and didn't execute."

Lou Williams scored 16 points, Andre Iguodala added 15 and Samuel Dalembert grabbed 17 rebounds for Philadelphia.

The Sixers have won seven straight at home against the Knicks since a 113-107 overtime loss Dec. 17, 2004. Philadelphia has taken nine of the last 11 overall meetings in the series.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 30, 2008


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