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by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: September 6, 2013

The Sixers and Knicks play one another four times this coming season (twice in Philadelphia and twice in New York), but their first meeting is not until January 11, 2014, marking just the second time in 10 seasons that the teams’ first contest has come in the new year. It takes the #4 spot on our countdown of the top 10 games in the PHILA BIG Game Plan

After winning the Atlantic Division crown last season (54-28), the Knicks look to do so in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992-94. With a lineup that returns each of its top-four minute-getters from last season (shooting guard J.R. Smith, forward Carmelo Anthony, point guard Raymond Felton, and center Tyson Chandler), head coach Mike Woodson hopes the additions of Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani help put New York over the edge in 2013-14.  

The game is one of three Saturday contests contained within the PHILA BIG Game Plan.

Knicks’ Key Offseason Moves

The addition of big man Andrea Bargnani, selected first overall in the 2006 Draft, is one that New York hopes will provide additional firepower to a bench that finished fourth in the league in scoring last season (38.5 points per game). The Italian seven-footer will look to rebound after a 2012-13 season that saw him appear in just 35 games and average 12.7 points (39.9 FG%) in 28.7 minutes a night. He averaged a career-high 21.4 points per game in 2011-12.

Forward Metta World Peace, a native of Queensbridge, New York, most recently spent four seasons with the Lakers before being waived by the team under the amnesty provision earlier this summer. The 6-6 former Defensive Player of the Year brings toughness and veteran savvy to a forward rotation that includes six-time All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. 

Point guard Jason Kidd (retired; now head coach of the Brooklyn Nets), swingman Steve Novak (Toronto Raptors), and forward Chris Copeland (Indiana Pacers) serve as the team’s most noteworthy departures.

Projected Starters

Notables

• Last season, New York attempted and converted more threes than any team in the NBA (2,371 and 891, respectively). In fact, the Knicks attempted and converted more threes than any team in NBA history last season. J.R. Smith (436) and Carmelo Anthony (414) were two of just 19 players in the league last season to attempt over 400 threes. They are now joined by another member of that select group, Metta World Peace, who attempted 412 threes last season. 

• In four meetings between the Sixers and Knicks last season, swingman Evan Turner averaged 15.8 points (40.0 FG%, 66.7 3P%, 91.3 FT%), 8.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. 

• Carmelo Anthony went 3 of 22 from beyond the arc in games against the Sixers in 2012-13, but got to the free-throw line more times against Philly (41 attempts) than against any other team in the league last season – he converted 35 of them. Anthony averaged 25.5 points (40.0 FG%, 13.6 3P%, 85.4 FT%), 7.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in those games.

• The Sixers hold a 240-189 all-time record against the Knicks. The first meeting between the two franchises occurred on November 13, 1949, with the then-Syracuse Nationals topping New York 80-66 at home.

Last Time They Met: Sixers 93, Knicks 99 – February 24, 2013

Tempers ran high in this game, the final contest of the season between the Knicks and Sixers. In the midst of a 12-5 Sixers run during the third quarter, Carmelo Anthony was called for a personal foul after a physical play under the basket with Sixers big man Spencer Hawes. Knicks center Tyson Chandler took exception, shoving Hawes and drawing a double technical. Anthony's personal foul was later upgraded to a Flagrant 1 after a replay review showed that he had elbowed Hawes in the head. 

At that point, the Sixers trailed 68-53, but following the altercation they battled back and cut New York’s lead to single digits. Despite drawing within five points with just under a minute remaining, Philly was not able to close it out, eventually falling 99-93 to drop their season series with the Knicks 3-1. 

Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with a game-high 30 points (12-24 FG) to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Evan Turner added 21 points (7-18 FG), eight assists, and six rebounds, while forward Thaddeus Young notched a double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds) in his first game back after missing six straight with a left hamstring strain. 

Carmelo Anthony scored a team-high 29 points and Amare Stoudemire added a season-high 22 for the Knicks. J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton each finished with 14 points.