Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks Pick & Prediction JANUARY 5th 2024

Joel Embiid will look to continue his historic season Friday when the Philadelphia 76ers host the New York Knicks.

In the Sixers’ 110-97 win over the Chicago Bulls Tuesday, Embiid returned from an 11-day absence caused by a sprained right ankle to produce 31 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and two blocked shots.

It was Embiid’s second triple-double this season and the seventh of his career. The reigning Most Valuable Player also compiled his 14th straight game with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds.

In addition, Embiid scored at least 30 points for the 15th game in a row.

Despite appearing a bit winded from a four-game absence, Embiid kept working on his passing skills, which didn’t go overlooked by his teammates. When Embiid was double-teamed, he moved the basketball quickly.

“I think he’s just done a really great job with improving on it (passing) year after year and I think the biggest thing is just him trusting it, knowing that the guys are going to be ready and in good situations,” said Tobias Harris, who scored 20 points.

“I thought tonight we did a great job of that, being ready, knock down those shots and to shoot them. … (We) fuel off of the type of double and triple teams that he gets out there on the floor.” Now it’s about conditioning for Embiid.

“For this one, I really couldn’t do anything,” he said. “Really up until the last two or three days, I was able to put some weight on my feet. (Monday), I was able to get on the floor and try to see how it feels. I felt pretty good, and that’s when we decided to play.”

De’Anthony Melton’s status is unclear; the guard missed the previous game with lumbar spine soreness.

The Knicks will aim for their third consecutive victory when they battle the Sixers.

New York defeated the Chicago Bulls 116-100 Wednesday behind 35 points from Julius Randle and 31 points and 13 assists from Jalen Brunson. Isaiah Hartenstein added 10 points, a career-best 20 rebounds and five blocked shots.

“We found ways to win,” Brunson said. “They kept going on runs but we kept our poise and we found a way to get it done.”

The all-around contributions from Hartenstein were an unexpected surprise.

“Everyone in this league was always a scorer at one time, and I know I can score if I need to,” Hartenstein said. “But, at the end of the day, I just do what the team needs.

“I always believed in myself and could play this role. I just go out there and play with confidence.”

Brunson always seems to play with confidence.

Since the Knicks dealt RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors for OG Anunoby, Brunson looks even more at ease running the offense.

“It’s a credit to my teammates,” Brunson said. “They’re finding a way to put the ball through the hoop. All the credit goes to them. I’m just out there running around.”

While all five starters scored in double figures, it took some defensive stops down the stretch to pull away from the depleted Bulls.

Anunoby and Donte DiVincenzo each added 11 points.

The Knicks held a late 101-95 lead before an 11-0 run sealed the win. The final score was a bit deceiving.

“We started making simple plays,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And when we do that, we’re pretty good offensively.” –Field Level Media

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