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Can Knicks End Losing Skid In Chicago?

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers are teams that are not only close in proximity, but also the direction their franchises are going. Both teams are exceeding expectations, and have budding new stars that they are rebuilding around. Madison Square Garden on Christmas Day would be the first meeting of the season for these Atlantic Division foes.

Both Kristaps Porzingis (22 pts, 7 rebs) and Joel Embiid (25 pts, 16 rebs) did not disappoint the fans in attendance. Porzingis didn’t shoot particularly well from the field (6-19 FG), but really helped the Knicks on the defensive end. New York seemed to gain momentum on each one of Porzingis’ five blocks. However, Philadelphia got a huge lift from JJ Redick (24 pts). When it looked like the Knicks were going to make a run, Redick hit a back breaking three pointer.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY) Redick hit four three pointers against the Knicks on Christmas.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY) Redick hit four three pointers against the Knicks on Christmas.

The 76ers outscored the Knicks 26-23 in the fourth quarter, to steal a 105-98 win on Christmas. New York just was unable to string together stops late, which led to their demise. This has been the key problem which has plagued the Knicks on the road. Coach Jeff Hornacek spoke to us post game, about how the Knicks too often depend on outscoring teams late.

The loss spoiled a marvelous performance by Enis Kanter (31 pts, 22 rebs). Kanter downplayed his heroics in the locker room, and reiterated that winning and the playoffs are his only concerns.  The difference between good teams and contenders, is who can get stops late in games. Right now, the Knicks have not shown consistently that they can put teams away.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY) Kanter posted huge numbers on Christmas.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY) Kanter posted huge numbers on Christmas.

Wednesday night, the Knicks will look to end their road woes against the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks have just won two games on road this season, and will have a tough task in Chicago. Back on Dec. 9th, the Bulls defeated New York in Chicago 104-102. Since that game, the Bulls have won six of thier last eight games.

The Knicks have to find a way to stay focused defensively for an entire game, and get more scoring help from their bench. If Michael Beasley is going to assume the role as the sixth man of the bench, he needs to not be as passive as he was on Christmas (10 pts). The Knicks were stagnant on offense without Porzingis, and really need his scoring prowess.

Without defensive stops and bench production, the Knicks road woes will continue.

Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for PureSportsNY.com. Follow him on Twitter @BHO732

(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)

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