by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

Let’s unpack this special Christmas Day matchup between the Knicks and Sixers.

New Yorkers will witness the orange and blue take center stage for the seventh time in eight years.  At the centerpiece of this intriguing contest is the battle in the paint between two of the most unique big men in the NBA.  Kristaps Porzingis, fresh off a season in which he averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and two blocks per game.  On the opposite side of the floor, Joel Embiid returns for his second season following an impressive rookie campaign.  Prior to an injury derailed his rookie season, Embiid posted 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.

The signal callers in this battle will also draw some eye balls on December 25.  New York’s No. 8 overall pick Frank Ntilikina will face the Philly’s 2017 No. 1 overall selection Markelle Fultz.  The Sixers also welcome Ben Simmons back from injury after the Australian missed all of 2016-17.

Both squads have drastically altered their rosters over the offseason.  The Knicks added Tim Hardaway Jr., Ramon Sessions, and Michael Beasley in free agency.  Philadelphia bolstered its group by acquiring J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson.

Tipoff between Knicks and Sixers is set for noon at Madison Square Garden.  Stay tuned for ticket info.

Opening Night in OKC
The NBA also announced a captivating matchup for New York’s season opener.  On October 19, the Knicks will begin their 2017-18 season with a formidable road contest in Oklahoma City.  The Thunder will host New York in front of raucous crowd as the reigning MVP hits the floor next to a new sidekick.  This summer, Oklahoma City shocked the NBA world by acquiring Paul George in a trade with the Indiana Pacers.  With Russell Westbrook and George, the Thunder will have high expectations and it starts with an opening night tilt against the Knicks.

Tipoff set for 8 PM in Oklahoma City on October 19.

Stay tuned to Knicks.com for the full schedule release and ticket info.