The Sixers host the Knicks tonight in the first of their weekend slumber party split between Philadelphia and New York. Tomorrow, they'll probably spend the day at Ronny Turiaf's log cabin in the Poconos. I'm sure Tony Battie is a splendid skier. The teams are separated by just three games, which means that a weekend sweep could put the Sixers within one game of the 6 seed or five games back. Or at the same place they started, rendering all of this meaningless.
But tonight they're in Philly and that means we get to talk to my favorite person named Seth Rosenthal who writes about the Knicks in the world....Seth Rosenthal! I asked Seth a few questions over the mac-and-cheese Tanner made us, then we watched It Takes Two and talked about how much the Olsen twins have grown. Check out my responses to questions he didn't ask me over there.
LB: Seth, the Knicks have lost 7 of their last 10. That's not a good average anywhere but baseball. I'm mostly sure this isn't baseball. Why the downturn?
P&T: Well, they have played some tough teams over that span. There were lots of Mavs and Spurs and Jazzes and whatnot. Mostly, though, they've been banged up and weary, with guys like Amar'e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton starting to show the ill effects of playing a squillion minutes a night. The rebounding and defensive rotations have suffered mightily, and that's doomed them against athletic teams who know how to exploit mismatches.
LB: Seth, speaking of Amar'e, he's second in the league in PPG so things seem good. How has the D'Antoni/Amar'e marriage worked out thus far?
P&T: It's been great. Really. They've been on the same page all season (as far as we know), and Stoudemire's stepped into the role of on-court leader very nicely. Mike sometimes complains about Amar'e coming home too late and Amar'e is a little peeved at Mike's reluctance to have kids right away, but it's an otherwise perfect marriage.
LB: Seth, seriously, what's the dealio with Anthony Randolph?
P&T: Poor, sweet Anthony. I mean, he's shown that he can rebound and play help defense and stuff, but he just hasn't matched that production on offense. He's got a skill set-- fancy finishes, surprisingly crisp passes, and a developing jump shot-- but very little sense of where and when to put those skills to use. I'm convinced that he's too talented for the NBA and that his potential won't be fully realized until they invent a form of basketball with no gravity, 20-foot high rims, and everybody rides on an ostrich. Anthony should be cryogenically frozen until that day.
LB: Seth, will Ray Felton's production continue to drop like it's hot? Or, in the case of his field goal percentage, like it's cold?
P&T: Felton's decline seems like a product of just being totally gassed by the aforementioned squillion MPG scenario. So, maybe the All-Star break will give Raymond a chance to rest his little limbs and get back on track? I really really hope so. The Knicks looked much sharper when he was a threat from outside.
LB: Seth, more Andy Rautins please?
P&T: I really haven't gotten visual confirmation that he's very good, but people tell me otherwise. The Knicks need another guy to eat up some point guard minutes, so I wouldn't be opposed.
LB: Seth, any final words you'd like to share with us?
P&T: Knicks win both, I poop my pants at least once.
That's all kids -- game thread will be up later so use this for your anticipatory splurging sessions. Also, if you decide to go over to P&T for some talky talk, be nice. Be nicer than nice.