Credit: usatoday.com

Three Things to Watch For: Sixers-Knicks

How the Sixers Deal With Fatigue

The 76ers will be playing the final game of a back to back to back tonight versus the Knicks, and while teams are somehow 6-0 on the final night of these brutal stretches, that is most likely just a fluke, as I cannot imagine that having to play repeatedly without days off can help your team. The Sixers have one of the best rosters in the league to deal with this situation, as they have a deep bench that they use frequently, and are also one of the youngest teams in the league.

 However, that does not mean this will not affect the Sixers. Thad Young often sparks the team with his energy, and while he is young, that does not mean that he will have the same type of fire after games on three straight nights. The Knicks will be coming off of a day off, so it will be interesting to see if the 76ers wear out during the game.

Iggy Vs. Melo

In a battle of the four letter nicknames, two of the better small forwards in the league will square off. It will be interesting to see if Iggy, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, can defend against Melo, who we all know is a top scorer. Last year, overall, Iggy won the battle, as he had a +/- of 9.0 points per 36 minutes when Melo was on the court, with Melo obviously the opposite. Iggy took more shots than  normal, not surprising considering Melo’s inability to play defense. He also scored more points than normal, but didn’t really score at much of a more efficient rate.

One glaring difference between the two in this matchup is that Iggy got to the free throw line over two more times per 36 minutes when Melo was on the court compared to the rest of the season. Anthony, in a complete reversal, got to the line half as much as normal.

More good news in this matchup for the Sixers is that Anthony only scored as much as he did against Iggy, which wasn’t all that good to begin with, because he knocked down 55% of his threes, much better than his normal rate.

The only place where Melo appears to have the edge is rebounding, as Dre’s rebounding fell by 1.7 rebounds. Melo’s stayed almost the same.

Overall, stunningly, Iggy versus Melo may turn out to be an advantage for the Sixers on the basketball court, even if Melo has a more chill four letter nickname.

Chandler on Defense

Last year, Tyson chandler obviously played for the defensively stout Dallas Mavericks, so the 76ers will not have as much trouble with Chandler as they did last year. That said, he could still have an impact, as last year, in the 76ers two meetings with the Mavericks, they scored five more points per 36 minutes with Chandler on the bench as opposed to when he was on the court. The offensive efficiency, or points scored per 100 possessions, was almost ten points lower with chandler on the court, and that is despite the fact that the 76ers got more opportunities to score due to more offensive rebounds while Chandler was on the floor. Surprising, because of his height.

The reasons for this drop in scoring is an increase in turnovers, and a decrease in field goal percentage. The Sixers biggest drop from the norm in field goal percentage comes in the paint, exactly the area Chandler protects. That almost proves his large affect in defense against the Sixers.

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