By Peter Gleason

It’s only Christmas Day, barely two months into the NBA season.

But tomorrow’s Sixers-Knicks game at the Garden will have implications for next May.

They met on Nov. 4, with the Knicks winning, but the Sixers didn’t have its two best players: center Joel Embiid and guard James Harden.

That makes tomorrow’s nationally televised noon game their first true matchup.

Jalen Brunson, a guard who spent his first four seasons in Dallas, leads the Knicks in assists and is the team’s second-best scorer, behind forward Julius Randle. For the first quarter of the season, the Knicks struggled to string together wins. But then December hit, and they found their stride.

That’s when fortunes improved for the Sixers, too.

Harden had missed more than a dozen games with a foot injury but returned this month to produce several impressive games with double-digit assist totals. The Knicks will, of course, have to watch out for Joel Embiid as well.

Last month, in a game against the Utah Jazz, he had this wild stat line: 59 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 blocks.

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