After a dominant performance against the Heat in the opener, one could expect something of a let down against the Sixers, particularly with Philadelphia playing without their new star center Andrew Bynum.
Bynum was supposed to give a deep Sixers team the go-to scoring threat they lacked in last season's surprising postseason run, but he's been hampered by a knee injury that kept him out of training camp.
The Sixers had hoped to have Bynum ready to go for the start of the season, but he's still experiencing pain in his knee, so the team has continued to hold him out. When he plays, Bynum can be a dominating presence on the low block, as well as an intimidating defender and occasional lunatic, but since he's not playing, let's not worry about him.
The Sixers that are playing are well-coached, pretty deep, but not particularly overwhelming, which makes it absolutely the type of game we could expect the Knicks to lose.
Philly scored a pretty impressive opening win over a talented Denver team in which they used a stifling defense to slow down the Nuggets for an 84-75 win. Spencer Hawes stepped in admirably at center for Bynum, scoring 16 points, with 12 boards and blocking five shots. Hawes is a good representative for this Sixers outfit, not a dazzling player for sure, but one who is surprisingly effective on a fairly consistent basis.
The Philly offense is led primarily by Jrue Holiday, the streak-shooting guard coming off an impressive first game of his own, but they also rely on rotating wing players like Thaddeus Young, Jason Richardson and Nick Young, while the team still waits for former second pick overall Even Turner to develop into more than just a complimentary player.
In other words, Philadelphia is better than one might think on paper, but this is absolutely the type of game you'd like to see this year's Knicks win, especially in the cozy environs of Madison Square Garden.