After the Sixers beat the New York Knicks in New York a couple of Sunday's ago, fans in Madison Square Garden were chanting "Fire D'Antoni." They got their wish as the Knicks and coach Mike D'Antoni parted when he resigned and the organization hired assistant and longtime Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson.
The Knicks have promptly won four straight games, by an average of 22.5 points, and clawed themselves back into the Atlantic Division. The Sixers (26-20) lead the Boston Celtics by 1.5 games and the Knicks (22-24) by four. A win tonight by the Sixers would give them a 2-1 head-to-head record against the Knicks this year with one more to play, which would be a good step should a tibreaker come into play.
"They've been playing really well under Mike Woodson," said Sixers coach Doug Collins at this morning's shootaround. "They are doing a lot of stuff after timeouts, so he is putting in a lot of his stuff then. They are also playing very good defense right now."
The Sixers are coming off a win Monday night in Charlotte against the lowly Bobcats. In that game starting center Spencer Hawes had his best outing since being cleared to play after being out with a strained Achilles'. Hawes went for 13 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in just under 24 minutes.
In the March 11 win in Madison Square Garden the preceded D'Antoni's resignation, guard Lou Williams went for 28 points and Andre Iguodala did a terrific job of containing Carmelo Anthony. Thaddeus Young also accounted for 24 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Williams had been mired in an awful shooting slump prior to Monday, when hit made 8 of this 12 shots and scored 19 points.