The Sixers split the regular season series in their first two encounters with the Kicks. The Sixers lost a close game against the Knicks in South Philly in November, falling short by two points. On Christmas Day, Philadelphia would play the Knicks in the opening game of the much anticipated schedule. The Sixers staged a comeback and defeated New York by double digits after falling down for the bulk of the game.
The Sixers attempted to take a lead in the series on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. In the opening five minutes of the game, PJ Tucker for Philadelphia was unusually active on the offensive end, scoring a game-high five points. He ended up going 3-3 from the field to close the quarter with seven points. Joel Embiid, who was effective from the field (2-4) and flawless from the charity line by going seven for seven, gave the Sixers an offensive lift.