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.
The Sixers set their roster for the upcoming summer leagues in Utah and Las Vegas. The squad is compiled of incoming rookies, returning roster players and free agents.
First overall pick Ben Simmons will headline the roster. Twenty-fourth pick Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will also play for the Sixers. Twenty-sixth pick Furkan Korkmaz is not going to participate.
T.J. McConnell, Richaun Holmes and Christian Wood, who played for the Sixers last season, will play. The only other player with NBA experience is James Nunnally. He played for the Sixers and Hawks during the 2013-14 season.
The roster is rounded out by Bryon Allen, Javon McCrea, Alex Caruso, Maodo Lo, James Webb III, Kwame Vaughn, Levi Randolph, Shawn Long and Tomasz Gielo. Caruso, Gielo, Lo, Long, and Webb III worked out for the Sixers before the draft.
The Sixers will begin summer league action on July 4 in Utah against the Celtics.
Assistant coaches Billy Lange will coach the Utah squad and Lloyd Pierce will coach in Las Vegas.
A complete list:
Bryon Allen, Guard
Alex Caruso, Guard
Tomasz Gielo, Forward
Richaun Holmes, Forward
Maodo Lo, Guard
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Guard
Javon McCrea, Forward
T.J. McConnell, Guard
James Nunnally, Forward
Shawn Long, Forward
Levi Randolph, Guard
Ben Simmons, Forward
Kwame Vaughn, Guard
James Webb III, Forward
Christian Wood, Forward
The Sixers have been in need of a veteran point guard, and it looks like they have found one on the first day of free agency.
A league source confirmed the Sixers have reached a deal to sign guard Jerryd Bayless. According to the Associated Press, the deal is worth $27 million over three years.
Bayless, 27, is entering his ninth NBA season. Last season, he played for the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 10.4 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game. Bayless shot 42.3 percent from the field and a career-high 43.7 percent from three. He ranked fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage last season.
The point guard role is unique for the Sixers. First overall pick Ben Simmons can play point-forward. While the Sixers will start him out at the four spot, eventually he will assume some point guard responsibilities as he develops in the NBA. Bayless is a good fit for this situation because he doesn't need to dominate the ball. He also gives the Sixers versatility in the backcourt with his ability to shoot.
The Sixers have struggled to find consistency at this position. Last season, they went through a pool of point guards before trading for Ish Smith in December. That acquisition wasn’t meant as a long-term solution, and Smith reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Pistons on Friday (see story).
The Sixers will be Bayless' seventh team. He previously played for the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Raptors, Grizzlies, Celtics and Bucks. Bayless was the 11th overall pick in the 2008 draft.
When Bayless played in Toronto in 2010-11 and 2011-12, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was the Raptors' president and general manager. This is Colangelo's first free-agent signing with the Sixers.
The Sixers are going to hire former head coach Jim O'Brien as an assistant coach on Brett Brown's staff, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato.
FOX29's Howard Eskin was the first to report the hire.
O'Brien, 64, was the Sixers' head coach back in 2004-05, when he led the team to a 43-39 record. He was the Celtics' head coach from 2000-2004 and the Pacers' head coach from 2007-2011. In his nine years as an NBA head coach, he has a 303-327 record.
O'Brien, who is from Philadelphia and went to Roman Catholic, last coached in the NBA as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012-13.