Published January 08, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia 76ers are still winless, but they may have one of their best chances for victory Saturday night when they visit Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks, who are tied for the second-worst mark in the NBA.
The Sixers fell to 0-12 with a 122-96 home setback to the Phoenix Suns on Friday. Eight Suns scored in double figures and the Suns dominated the second quarter, 41-17.
Michael Carter-Williams scored 18 points and K.J. McDaniels had 17 off the bench.
Nerlens Noel didn't have a great game, but made a statement early. After Phoenix's Eric Bledsoe said his alma mater, the No. 1 ranked University of Kentucky, could beat the 76ers in a seven-game series, Noel hammered him on the first possession. Noel, also a Kentucky product, was handed a technical foul.
But, a loss is a loss. The Sixers are three setbacks away from matching their franchise record for worst start. The 1972-73 Sixers dropped 15 in a row, then went on to have the worst record in NBA history at 9-73.
"We understand that we need to win," Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
The 2009-10 Nets own the record for worst start to an NBA campaign, going 0-18.
The Sixers play four straight in Philly following Saturday's game in New York. It won't be easy as they host the Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.
The Knicks have been dreadful this season, just not Sixers' dreadful. They've dropped two in a row and nine of their last 10. New York is 2-5 at Madison Square Garden and dropped both on a recent road trip.
On Wednesday, the Knicks fell in Minnesota to the Timberwolves, 115-99.
They allowed 115 points one day after giving up a season-high 117 to Milwaukee.
"I'm not more concerned after tonight than I was last night," said Knicks head coach Derek Fisher. "Tonight was different in the sense that they shot 3s, they got points in the paint, they got transition points. They kind of got it all. We had been better in some of those areas, but tonight we weren't."
Minnesota shot 44-of-89 from the field, including 11-of-22 from beyond the arc.
The Knicks committed 22 turnovers. In the second and third quarters when they were outscored by 18 points, they turned the ball over 17 times. Minnesota stole the ball 15 times in the game.
Carmelo Anthony led New York with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and Amar'e Stoudemire contributed 19 off the bench. Jason Smith chipped in 14 in a reserve role.
In a bit of positive news, the Knicks appear set for reinforcements. Point guard Jose Calderon, acquired in an offseason trade with the Dallas Mavericks, and Andrea Bargnani, the former No. 1 overall pick, are both on track to make their season debuts Saturday.
The Knicks are 10-3 in recent history against the Sixers, including 3-1 last season. New York is 3-1 in its last four versus Philly at Madison Square Garden.