The Philadelphia 76ers host the New York Knicks on Friday, January 5 in a rivalry matchup between two teams jockeying for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.
This game will be the first of four scheduled matchups between the Sixers and Knicks in the 2023/24 season. The teams split the 2022/23 season series 2-2.
The Knicks are eighth in the East at 19-15, the same record as two other Eastern Conference teams. They sit a game back from the fourth-placed Miami Heat, so every win they can get will help them avoid the play-in round.
The Sixers sit third in the conference at 23-10. Joel Embiid returned from a sprained ankle in a win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday and he didn’t miss a beat, going off for a triple-double with 31 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Philly and New York are similar offensive teams statistically. Both teams shoot 37.5 percent from three, both teams rank in the bottom third in the league in assists per game, and both teams rank in the top 10 in turnovers per game.
Defense could make a difference as the numbers show the Sixers are the better team: Philly ranks in the top 10 in steals, blocks, opponent three-point percentage, opponent turnovers, and defensive rating, while the Knicks are in the bottom half of the league in each of those stats except for steals.
The absence of Knicks center Mitchell Robinson - ruled out for the year in late December with an ankle injury - will make it tougher for New York on the defensive end given that he would guard Embiid.
The Sixers are led by Embiid’s league-leading 34.8 points per game, while the Knicks are led by Jalen Brunson’s 25.7 points per game and Julius Randle’s 24.4 points per game.
|+6.0, +200 ML
|-6.0, -245 ML
|Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
|7:30 PM ET, Friday, January 5
|How to watch
76ers: Robert Covington (knee, questionable), De’Anthony Melton (back, out)
Knicks: Malachi Flynn (ankle, day-to-day), Mitchell Robinson (ankle, out for season)
Two of the NBA’s oldest franchises, the Sixers and Knicks have played 468 times in the regular season. The Sixers have won 263 of those games to the Knicks’ 205. The teams have faced off in 33 postseason games, with the Sixers winning 21 times to the Knicks’ 12.
Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.