5 Things to Know: Knicks Square Off Against Sixers in Season Finale
1. Willy Hernangomez scored 20 of his 24 points in the first half as the Knicks went toe-to-toe against an elite team in the Eastern Conference on Sunday afternoon. However, the Raptors found their groove in the fourth quarter by reeling off a 22-7 run and outscoring New York 32-17 to register a 108-92 victory. DeMar DeRozan posted a game-high 35 points on 11-for-15 shooting from the floor in 29 minutes. Kyle Lowry added 17 points and 11 assists in the final meeting between the two teams this season.
2. Kristaps Porzingis missed his fourth straight game on Sunday and Carmelo Anthony was sidelined for his second consecutive contest. The injury report following Tuesday’s practice session states that Anthony (sore left knee), and Porzingis (sore lower back) are questionable for the season finale against the Sixers.
3. On Sunday, head coach Jeff Hornacek featured a starting lineup of: Ron Baker, Courtney Lee, Justin Holiday, Maurice Ndour, and Hernangomez. In a starting role, Baker is averaging 7.6 points and 5.2 assists in his last five outings. Hernangomez owns averages of 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in that same timespan.
4. The Sixers have lost seven straight games heading into the season finale against the Knicks. On Monday night, Indiana topped Philadelphia 120-111 behind 27 points from Paul George and Myles Turner’s 13 rebounds. Philadelphia has significant injury issues without Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid in the frontcourt. Okafor has not played since mid-March and Embiid has been out since late January. Additionally, the Sixers third leading scorer Robert Covington is out for the remainder of the season. Head coach Brett Brown started Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot next to Justin Anderson, T.J. McConnell, Dario Saric, and Robert Holmes. Newly signed forward Alex Poythress played 23 minutes off the pine on Monday and connected on 5-of-7 shots from downtown.
5. The season series between the two teams have been extremely tight, considering the averaging margin of victory is only 1.6. Philadelphia narrowly defeated New York 98-97 in the first matchup, the Knicks evened the series with a 110-109 at MSG in the second meeting, and the Sixers captured the latest contest 105-102 on March 3. Justin Anderson hit the go-ahead bucket late in that game and Saric dropped a team-high to 21 points to secure the win for Philadelphia.
by Jonah Ballow