1. The Knicks opened their two-game road trip with a double-digit victory over the Magic on Wednesday night. Five players registered double figures in points and New York limited Orlando to just 90 points in the win. The victory pushed the Knicks record to 25-36 on the season and four games behind the Detroit Pistons for the eighth spot in the latest Eastern Conference standings.
2. Kristaps Porzingis returned to the floor on Wednesday after missing two games due to a sprained ankle. The second-year big man played 33 minutes, scored a team-high 20 points on 6-for-15 shooting from the floor in the win over Orlando. Following the victory, Porzingis confirmed to the media he was feeling no ill effects of the ankle injury and he’s prepared for Friday’s game against Philadelphia.
3. Willy Hernangomez suffered a sprained ankle in last Monday’s loss to the Raptors. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said Hernangomez did not participate in Thursday’s optional practice in Philadelphia and is listed as doubtful for the Friday night matchup. Porzingis started at the center spot next to Carmelo Anthony and Lance Thomas in the frontcourt to counter the loss of Hernangomez. Hornacek did not commit to the same starting lineup for Friday night as he could opt for Kyle O’Quinn at the center position.
4. On Wednesday, the Sixers announced that Joel Embiid would miss the remainder of the season after a follow-up MRI. The test revealed the meniscus tear in his left knee appeared more pronounced. On a positive note for Philadelphia, Dario Saric was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month. Saric scored 17 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game in February.
5. Only two total points separate these two teams this year. In two dramatic meetings, the Knicks-Sixers season series is locked at one apiece following buzzer beaters that decided the first two matchups. On January 11, Philadelphia stormed back on its home floor and T.J. McConnell knocked down a jumper to secure the 98-97 win for the Sixers. Last Saturday night, Anthony was the hero with a game-winning bucket at MSG. Philadelphia has lost three straight contests while New York has won two of its last three entering tonight’s game.
by Jonah Ballow