Sixers-Knicks 5 things: Winnable game vs. skidding Knicks

Sixers-Knicks 5 things: Winnable game vs. skidding Knicks

The Sixers (10-25) face the Atlantic Division rival New York Knicks (17-21) on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Playoffs!?
The recent stretch of games has been kind to the Sixers, but good enough to start thinking playoffs?

If you’re Joel Embiid, the answer is yes. 

After putting up 20 points, five rebounds and four assists in the Sixers' 105-95 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, Embiid explained his belief that the Sixers can reach the postseason.

“I think we have a chance,” Embiid said. “We’ve been hot lately. ... We’re really figuring things out, we’re starting to learn how to win games.”

True. The Sixers have won three of their last four games and now sit 7½ games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

However, it may be a bit difficult to keep up this current run. Following Wednesday’s matchup with the Knicks, who have lost eight of their last nine, eight of the Sixers’ next nine games will be against teams with records above .500.

2. Reaching Rose
While the Sixers are thinking about the postseason, the slumping Knicks have been reduced to just figuring out where their players are at tip-off.

Point guard Derrick Rose missed the Knicks’ 110-96 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden with the team unsure of his whereabouts. 

Rose rejoined the squad for practice on Tuesday and said he returned to his hometown of Chicago for family reasons. He spoke with Knicks officials and apologized to his teammates for going AWOL upon his return.

"It had nothing to do with the team or basketball," said Rose, who was fined by the Knicks. "That's the first time I ever felt like that emotionally and I had to be with my family."

Rose is expected to play on Wednesday night, but things haven’t exactly been going well for the veteran on the floor either. He’s averaging 14.8 points on 42.4 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent from three-point range over the last five games. Those numbers have caused him to be glued to the bench by head coach Jeff Hornacek for some recent fourth quarters.

We’ll see if Rose can block out the distractions and get back to business against the Sixers.

3. Chasson chasing his dreams
Speaking of point guards expected to see action Wednesday, Chasson Randle will likely make his NBA debut for the Sixers.

Randle signed a 10-day contract with the Sixers. The Stanford product previously averaged 20.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 19 games for the D-League’s Westchester Knicks this season. 

“I just want to bring a lot of energy on both ends of the floor, be aggressive, and try to make plays out there and be a great teammate because we’ve got a lot of great guys here,” Randle said after his first practice. “I’ve only been here 24 hours, but I can just tell these guys are amazing.”

4. Injuries
Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas (illness) is a game-time decision for the Knicks.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost nine of their last 10 meetings with the Knicks.

• Kristaps Porzingis had 10 blocks in three games against the Sixers last season.

• Carmelo Anthony has averaged 23.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 30 career games against the Sixers.

Report: Sixers interested in reunion with Andre Iguodala

Report: Sixers interested in reunion with Andre Iguodala

Fresh off his latest NBA Finals victory, two-time champ Andre Iguodala could end up back in Philly.

The Sixers are one of seven teams interested in prying the 2015 NBA Finals MVP away from the Warriors, according to an ESPN report.

Iguodala averaged 7.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 26.3 minutes a game for the reigning champs. He scored 20 points in the series clincher in Game 5. 

Since joining Golden State, Iguodala has taken a lesser role, unlike his days with the Sixers. Back in February, Iguodala had some glowing things to say about one of the Sixers' franchise cornerstones, Joel Embiid. 

"I'm a big fan of his," Iguodala said following a Warriors' 119-108 win over the Sixers. "I think he has a crazy upside. I don't even think people realize how good he really is."

Next season, the Sixers will add 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz to that mix. With the young foundation in place and the money the Sixers could throw at him, Iguodala could consider coming back to the place where his NBA career started.

Iguodala could offer the Sixers two valuable things: defense and veteran leadership. With guard Jerryd Bayless being the only player on the current roster with five years of NBA experience, the Sixers could use a player with Iguodala's resume.

Iguodala, 33, has now played in 109 career postseason games. He's also been durable, having played at least 62 games in each of his 13 NBA seasons. 

"As long as they keep having good intentions," Iguodala said when asked if he thought the Sixers were on the right track. "As long as [Embiid] continues to improve and his confidence goes higher and higher — his potential is amazing — and they get the right guys around him, and they've already started that, so sky's the limit."

Iguodala was originally drafted ninth overall by the Sixers back in 2004 out of Arizona. He averaged 15.3 points in 615 games and made one All-Star appearance in his eight seasons with the Sixers.

Robert Covington finishes 4th in Defensive Player of the Year voting

Robert Covington finishes 4th in Defensive Player of the Year voting

Draymond Green. Rudy Gobert. Kawhi Leonard.

Robert Covington.

Covingon placed fourth in the voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, though he wasn't even close to the top three.

Green, who won the award Monday night, received 73 of 100 first-place votes and had 434 voting points.

Gobert was next with 16 first-place votes and 269 points, followed by Leonard with 11 first-place votes and 182 points.

Covington was the only other player in the NBA to receive both a second- and third-place vote, giving him a total of four voting points. That was one more than LeBron James, Hassan Whiteside and Andre Roberson. 

Both writers who voted for Covington are international: Antoni Daimel of Moviestar+ in Spain and Flavio Tranquillo of Sky Italia. European hoops heads must love them some RoCo.

After a slow start, Covington had a breakout 2016-17 season, offensive and defensively. His reputation has grown substantially over the last year and he's now considered one of the better three-and-D players in the NBA and a solid fit alongside the Sixers' young nucleus.