New York Knicks

Sixers at Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

Sixers at Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

The Sixers (36-21) are headed to New York after falling to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. The Knicks (10-46) are currently on a 17-game losing streak. Here are the essentials for Wednesday's game:

• When: 7:30 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
• Where: Wells Fargo Center 
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Trap game

For the record, I don’t think it’s going to happen, but it has to be said. In their last matchup, the Knicks fought back from a 24-point deficit and if it wasn’t for a last-second Emmanuel Mudiay three-pointer that rimmed out, the game would’ve gone to overtime. With the All-Star break on the horizon, Sixers are going to need to stay focused for this one.

Reserve wing battle

Brett Brown said Tuesday that there is a "quiet tournament" between Jonathon Simmons, James Ennis and Furkan Korkmaz to see who emerges at that backup wing slot. Last night, Simmons received the bulk of those minutes and Brown said he liked what he saw. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ennis gets the bulk of those minutes tonight as Brown experiments.

Where does Bobi fit?

Speaking of experimentation, Brown is fully committed to experimenting with the rotation at the start of the final third of the regular season (see story), and one of those experiments is Boban Marjanovic. Brown wants to give Marjanovic the chance to earn rotational minutes and he’s still figuring out where he best fits. But, that can also come with costs, like Jonah Bolden getting lost in the rotation.

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Sixers 108, Knicks 105: Ben Simmons helps Sixers recover after nearly blowing 24-point lead

Sixers 108, Knicks 105: Ben Simmons helps Sixers recover after nearly blowing 24-point lead

BOX SCORE 

It wasn’t nearly as easy as it should have been, but the Sixers will take it.

The Sixers almost blew a big lead Sunday afternoon in New York, then recovered to beat the Knicks, 108-105, and snap a two-game losing streak. Emmanuel Mudiay missed a potential game-tying three-point attempt on the Knicks' final possession.

Ben Simmons had a huge game, with 20 points, a career-high 22 rebounds and nine assists. He's the first Sixer to post those numbers since Charles Barkley on March 20, 1987, per Basketball-Reference.

Joel Embiid had 25 points and eight rebounds for the Sixers, who move to 28-16 with the win.

• The Sixers would be disappointed that they let the Knicks cut a lead once as large as 24 points down to one in the third quarter, and then back to two in the fourth period after it appeared the game was in hand.

With all due respect to Luke Kornet (23 points), Mario Hezonja and company, the Knicks don’t have the personnel to pose any problems for the Sixers, at least on paper. 

If Embiid wasn’t around, perhaps the Knicks would’ve handed the Sixers a third straight disappointing loss.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, Embiid, a game-time decision with right ankle soreness, did play.

He had a big impact on both ends of the court. 

Embiid blocked six shots and also took a charge on Lance Thomas in the second quarter. Embiid had a laugh after earning the call, seeming to acknowledge how unusual it is for a 7-footer known for his shot-blocking prowess to take a charge on a 6-foot-8 forward.

• Though he’s taken more lately, every Simmons jumper is still an event.

He swished a baseline fadeaway in the second quarter. 

As usual, though, dunks were a more prominent feature of Simmons’ game. 

He darted to the rim when Frank Ntilikina abandoned him to double-team Embiid and capitalized on the Knicks’ belated defensive rotation.

Simmons continues to excel in the post, especially against opponents like the Knicks who simply don’t have the defenders to physically handle him. He entered Sunday’s game shooting 48.5 percent on post-up possessions (33 of 68). For comparison, he shot 30 percent (21 for 70) on post-ups last season. 

• After two poor defensive efforts, the Sixers were better on that end of the floor in New York. That’s not to say they were good; the Knicks, who have the worst field goal percentage in the NBA, missed a number of open looks, Embiid cleaned up a few perimeter mistakes, and the Sixers still allowed the Knicks to score 32 points in the third quarter. 

But it didn’t take much to improve on their recent dismal defensive performances, and the Sixers ultimately did that vs. the Knicks.

Jonah Bolden didn’t score, but he was impressive on defense alongside Embiid in the frontcourt during his fourth-quarter stint. 

It’s worth noting that Furkan Korkmaz, who has often been exploited defensively, played just nine minutes and was scoreless, with a team-worst minus-seven. Korkmaz played four first-half minutes in Friday’s loss vs. the Hawks.

• Like Embiid, Jimmy Butler was a game-time decision. He played despite a rib contusion, posting 16 points, 10 in the second half 

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Sixers-Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

Sixers-Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

After dropping two straight against sub .500 teams, the Sixers (27-16) will look to bounce back against the Knicks (10-32) on Sunday afternoon.

Joel Embiid is currently listed as questionable with right ankle soreness.

• When: 1 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m.
• Where: Madison Square Garden
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

Here are three storylines to watch:

Scoring isn't the problem

Scoring hasn't been the issue for the Sixers. As a matter of fact, they've had a field goal percentage of at least 50 percent in three of their past five games and are averaging 119.4 points per game through their last five. And if you look at the Sixers' scoring over the entire season, their 114.7 points per game is sixth best in the NBA.

Defense

That leads us to the problem. Over the past three games, the Sixers have given up an average of 120.3 points and opponents are shooting 53.2 percent — 46.4 percent from three. This is against sub .500 teams, before the Sixers' schedule actually gets tough toward the end of the month. From Brett Brown to the players, everyone has voiced their disappointment with the defense. But it's about the mentality they show on the court Sunday that matters.

Keep it up, Benny

Despite their latest struggles, Ben Simmons has been stringing together some pretty good games — and keeping those jump shots coming! In the Sixers' most recent loss, Simmons had his seventh triple-double of the season with 23 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high 15 assists. He's currently second in the league in triple-doubles behind Russell Westbrook. Keep it going.

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