3-Dei: How the Sixers can beat the Knicks

uspresswire-sixers-evan-turner.jpg

3-Dei: How the Sixers can beat the Knicks

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.

NBA Notes: Cavs-Warriors III joins past championship trilogies

NBA Notes: Cavs-Warriors III joins past championship trilogies

It never happened between Magic Johnson's Lakers and Larry Bird's Celtics. Same for Michael Jordan and Karl Malone or Jerry West and Bill Russell.

While there have been 14 rematches in NBA Finals history, this year's meeting between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors will be the first trilogy in league history.

After the Warriors beat the Cavs for their first title in 40 years in 2015, Cleveland got revenge last season with a comeback from 3-1 down to give the city its first major championship since 1964. Now they meet for the rubber match starting June 1 in Oakland.

While this may be unprecedented in the NBA, it has happened once before in the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball with matchups that included some of those sports' biggest stars.

There was Babe Ruth vs. Frankie Frisch in the 1920s and then a pair of memorable three-peat matchups in the 1950s featuring Otto Graham against Bobby Layne in the NFL and Gordie Howe against Maurice Richard in the NHL.

Warriors: Durant once team’s 2nd choice
Truth be told, Golden State's former coach wasn't sure the Warriors needed Kevin Durant.

The Warriors were already small-ball sensations, capable of piling up the points with their daring drives and sizzling shooting. So rather than add another scorer, Don Nelson figured Golden State might be better off getting a dominant man in the middle to shore up the defense in the 2007 NBA draft.

Nelson thought the Warriors needed Greg Oden.

That was 10 years ago, leading up to the heavily hyped draft in which the Oden-Durant debate raged throughout basketball. And now, as Durant leads the league's most potent team into the NBA Finals while Oden is long gone from the NBA spotlight, it's easy to forget that a lot of people agreed with Nelson.

"I think everyone felt that there were two players there that were going to be prominent players, but one thing you can't count on is injuries," Warriors executive Jerry West said. "So Greg really never had a chance to have a career, where Kevin's obviously been more than advertised."

Celtics: Thomas unsure if he’ll need surgery
Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas wanted to keep playing in the Eastern Conference finals, but team doctors and officials convinced him he needed to shut down his season for his long-term health.

"They had multiple people come in and talk to me about what's more important," Thomas said Friday, a day after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. "But I definitely wasn't trying to hear that at that point in time."

Thomas injured the hip in March and aggravated it in the second-round series against Washington. He played three halves against the Cavaliers before limping off the court in the middle of Game 2.

The Celtics lost that game by 44 points to fall behind 0-2 in the best-of-seven series, then announced the next day that Thomas was done for the season. Still, they beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland the next game before falling easily in Games 4 and 5.

"Eastern Conference finals, that's the biggest stage I've ever been on," Thomas said at the team's practice facility in Waltham, Massachusetts. "To not be able to go back out there in that second half and continue that series was painful. Like it hurt me."

Speaking for the first time since the end of his season, Thomas said he might need surgery but it's "not the No. 1 option right now." He will have to wait for more tests until the swelling goes down, he said (see full story).

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.