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Pre-Game Reconnaisance: Knicks vs. Sixers

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Starting next week, I hope, there will be regular pre-game posts featuring notes, quotes, goofs, and guest appearances. I'm putting that in writing so I don't slack off again. Hold me to it.

Anyway, the Knicks are playing the Sixers in a weekend home-and-home with monumental playoff implications. (If a mid-February battle for the sixth seed in the East isn't monumental, I don't know what is). Though I don't have a full pre-game post for y'all, I do have some thoughts from Mike Levin of Liberty Ballers. If you have any idea how prized Mike's thoughts are, you'll know that this is no small thing. The following came at the price of $50 per word and was transmitted to me on scraps of parchment via trained lark.

Go here to see what I had to say to the LB goons, and take the jump for Mr. Levin's opus.

I considered scrapping conventional analysis in exchange for a Fresh Prince of Bel Air themed Sixers rap, but the clock (cell phone) to my left and the bottle of coconut rum (orange juice) to my right are giving me conflicting advice. So instead, I'll just tell you what national analysts (i.e. people who get paid to recycle garbage and projectile it out of their mouths -- actually quite sustainable) would say we have going for us then contradict it with the little negative Philadelphian man who lives inside my mouth next to Tony.

National 1. The Sixers are the 7th seed in the East, just 3 games behind the Knickerbockers of Nueva York. They've won 7 of their last 10 games and sport a 15-8 home record.

Negative 1. The Sixers are 4 games under .500 and only 2.5 games ahead of Milwaukee for the 10th spot. If they were in the West, they're the 11th seed.

National 2. Thaddeus Young is turning into a star!

Negative 2. He's not. He's decent. And he's likely walking this year or next, depending on RFA status.

National 3. This is a team on the rise made up of a young core of players who all buy into Doug Collins' system. Obviously, their recent success has taken Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala off the market.

Negative 3. This team is still a superstar away from even thinking about contending for a championship. The only player aside from Jrue Holiday who matters is Evan Turner, and he's had his minutes taken from him by Iguodala, Nocioni, Kapono, Jodie Meeks, and (most despicably) Lou Williams (who if you haven't heard, is a lyrical BOSS) at various points this season. While the general public will scream BUST until they're literally busting, people who've watched Evan will tell you he's getting settled, making progress and is on pace to return to his Ohio State form next season IF/WHEN he is getting 30-35 minutes a night being the focal point of the offense. But since the team won't commit to a true youth movement, and is instead determined to plow ahead with the mediocre-est team in the history of mediocrity, they'll finish anywhere from the 6th to the 11th seed for the next 5 years without any playoff series wins to speak of. Read this if you want more negativity -- it was written after one of the season's biggest collapses against the Memphis Grizzlies.

When you claw your way over to the bright side (which is more like a bright nook), you'll see Jrue Holiday sitting with his mother eating Fruity Pebbles and drinking lemonade, the little tyke. He's 20. He's improving. His massive clay block of potential is there, it just needs to be molded and sculpted and whatever other art terms you can use. Monet! He's on pace to become an elite point guard in the league if he is allowed to grow as a basketball player with Evan Turner and please for the love of God draft him a big man who can play in the post, rebound, and block shots. That'll be nice.

Amare will go off for a combined 60 between the two games. Gallo should hit about 18 three's. But by God the Sixers will pull out one of them after a 8-24 night for Lou-Will (20 points, guys!) and Ed Stefanski will probably go out and trade for Drew Gooden or the ghost of Jamaal Magloire just 'cause.

The horror.

Game thread will be up in the near future. <3.