by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

7:00 PM ET | Wells Fargo Center
TV:  MSG Network
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

1.  The Knicks battled back from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter to eventually cut the lead to just six points with 1:10 remaining in the contest.  However, All-Star Victor Oladipo buried a 3-pointer to extend the advantage to nine points and out of reach for the visiting team.  Oladipo led all scorers with 30 points in the 121-113 season series victory.  

2.  From an offensive standpoint, New York received some impressive performances from key players.  Enes Kanter returned from a one-game absence (oral surgery) to post 17 points and 11 rebounds, Michael Beasley scored 16 and grabbed 13 boards, and Emmanuel Mudiay registered a double-double in his Knicks debut with 14 points and 10 assists.  Additionally, Kyle O’Quinn nearly recorded a double-double as well with 14 points and nine rebounds.

3.  Head coach Jeff Hornacek adjusted his rotation on Sunday night to feature several of the young members of the roster, especially in the backcourt.  Frank Ntilikina played 30 minutes off the pine and Mudiay logged 29 minutes of court time.  Both players combined to score 26 points and a +9 when sharing the floor together.  The result of the two guards on the court for significant minutes was the change of pace.  New York’s pace was 100.0 against Indiana, which is the highest mark since the January 19 win in Utah.

4.  In the first meeting between the two teams, Philadelphia escaped New York with a 105-98 win on Christmas Day.  Despite a monster outing from Kanter (31 points, 22 rebounds), the Knicks fell to a much-improved Sixers squad.  Philadelphia was led by Joel Embiid as the big man dropped 25 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocked shots.

5.  The Sixers enter tonight’s tilt on a three-game winning streak and the team has captured 10 straight victories on its home floor.  On Saturday night, Philadelphia knocked off the Clippers 112-98 behind Embiid’s 29 points and 16 rebounds.  Currently, Embiid leads the Sixers in points, rebounds, and blocks while rookie Ben Simmons is Philadelphia’s top man in assists and steals.  Due to the presence of Embiid and Simmons, the Sixers are a strong defensive team with a 102.8 defensive rating.  At 28-25 overall, Philadelphia has two games remaining in its homestand before a contest in Chicago on Thursday.