Both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers look for a much-needed victory Wednesday night when they meet for the final time this season.
These teams still have a chance of making the postseason, but both currently sit out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are 10th, 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Orlando, while the 76ers are one spot behind New York and 4 1/2 games back of the Magic.
New York (31-42) damaged its playoff hopes with back-to-back losses on a quick road trip. After falling 105-103 to league-best Dallas on Friday, the Knicks lost 103-94 to New Orleans in overtime on Saturday.
After rallying to tie the game in regulation, the Knicks made just one field goal in the extra session to lose for the eighth time in 10 contests.
"We've just got to keep pushing. We can't let this kill us," said Knicks center Eddy Curry, who scored 34 points Saturday for his highest output since he had a season-high 36 against Milwaukee on Dec. 9.
Knicks coach Isiah Thomas was upset with the lack of calls for point guard Stephon Marbury, who scored 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting after recording a season-high 43 against Dallas.
"I think there is a point that seriously needs to be made how Marbury is being treated by the officials now. ... I see a lot of players drive to the basket and get fouled and go to the foul line, and I don't understand what he's done to receive the type of treatment he's getting and the lack of respect he is getting from the officials," Thomas said.
"That's not why we lost the game. We did a lot of things wrong to lose the game."
Thomas was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for his comments.
New York plays three of its next four games at home, where it has lost five of its past seven. The Sixers (29-44) have lost six of their past eight on the road, including an 86-82 defeat to New Jersey on Saturday.
Philadelphia had won three of its previous four games, but Saturday's defeat has made it even more difficult for the Sixers to try to claim a playoff berth.
Philadelphia shot just 11-for-22 from the free-throw line and made only one of its six 3-point attempts, which came at the end of the game.
Andre Iguodala, who averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals in March, sat for much of Saturday's contest with foul trouble and scored just 13 points.
"I just couldn't hit any shots and couldn't get anything going," said Iguodala, who was 5-of-12 from the field in 33 minutes. "I was in foul trouble. They just played a good game."
The home team has won each of the first three meetings between these clubs this season. Philadelphia has won five of the past six in the series, though New York has won seven of the last eight matchups at Madison Square Garden.