The Sixers can beat the Knicks. After all, New York has been beaten on 26 occasions this season, most recently by 23 points on its home floor Monday to the Brooklyn Nets.
Here is how I see the Sixers-Knicks matchup tonight in 3-Dei:
1. The Sixers' defense needs to be present and accounted for in the game.
The Nets beat the Knicks with defense. They held New York to 80 points, 15 below its season average. They also held the Knicks to 34 percent shooting. On the season, New York shoots 43.3 percent.
The Sixers cannot come into this division matchup trying to outscore the Knicks. Yes, New York will let you put points on the board (opponents score 99.1 per game on the Knicks), but the Knicks have more scorers than the Sixers.
The Sixers are allowing opponents to score a league-high 109.9 points per game on 46.0 percent shooting (10th highest).
In a previous meeting with New York, the Knicks won 102-92 on 47.6 percent shooting. They made one more three-pointer than the Sixers (6-5) and three more free throws (18-15).
There were no great discrepancies. New York just had a little more that day. The Knicks were on a roll when the two last met, but are currently on a four-game skid.
If the Sixers bring defense, New York's skid will continue.
2. The matchup at the small forward position has to be equal -- not necessarily statistically, but in contributions to helping their respective teams.
Evan Turner versus Carmelo Anthony. Both players lead their team in scoring. Anthony is third in the league with 26.1 points per game, while Turner is tied for 25th at 18.1.
Anthony gets a significant nod when it comes to three-point shooting because his percentage is 39.5 while Turner's is 29.1.
In the previous meeting, Anthony outplayed his counterpart. Anthony did not have a great shooting night (8 of 21 for 18 points), but he did grab nine rebounds and hand out seven assists.
Meanwhile, Turner's line read 12 points, five rebounds, one assist and six turnovers. That game was not a shining moment for Turner, nor have the last three in which he has averaged just 9.7 points.
3. Take advantage of the Knicks being down two frontcourt players.
The last go-around, Amar'e Stoudemire discovered the fountain of youth, scoring 21 points in 22 minutes. And Kenyon Martin hurt the Sixers, making 4 of 5 field goal attempts for eight points to go with eight rebounds.
Both players sprained an ankle last Thursday and are sidelined for a couple weeks.
The Sixers will be without Tony Wroten, who also has a sprained ankle, but New York minus Stoudemire and Martin has to be taken advantage of by the Sixers' big men.