Knicks-Nets: What to Watch For

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9634-kYL10]

Last season, the Knicks were 4-0 against the crosstown rival Nets. The two teams matched up for a primetime thriller at the garden late last season in which Melo led the team to an overtime victory. See highlights above. Also in those highlights, see some vintage Chauncey Billups at the 2:17 mark as he bricks a transition three with Melo and Amar’e running down the court to his left. The Nets are coming off a 108-105 loss against Minnesota.

Here is what to watch for:

  • The Knicks legs tonight. Tonight will be the third night of a back-to-back-to-back in which the Knicks have gone 0-2 so far. In each of the last two games, the Knick starters have all played at least 35 minutes. New York’s bench has been absolutely putrid this season but the Knicks will need to get some run out of them tonight. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks, who don’t shoot the ball well anyways, will shoot tonight with tired legs.
  • This is a must win for the Knicks. This is how the remaining February schedule looks for the Bockers:
  • Feb 4: New Jersey
  • Feb 6: Utah
  • Feb 8: @Washington
  • Feb 10: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Feb 11: @Minnesota
  • Feb 14: @Toronto
  • Feb 15: Sacramento
  • Feb 17: New Orleans
  • Feb 19: Dallas
  • Feb 20: New Jersey
  • Feb 22: Atlanta
  • Feb 23: @Miami
  • Feb 29: Cleveland
  • The Knicks play some good teams this month and they have already dug themselves in a deep hole at 8-15. They need to start scrapping out wins any way they can, especially against the bad teams like New Jersey, Washington, Toronto and Sacramento. This month will make or break the Knicks season. I know it is early but this team cannot afford another poor month and cannot afford to keep accumulating losses.
  • Can the Knicks slow down Deron Williams? I think the world of Williams. I think behind Chris Paul, Williams is the 2nd best point guard in the league. He has size, athleticism and elite ability in both shooting the ball and getting others involved. Against the Knicks last season, Williams put in 22 points and almost led the Nets to victory. The Knicks struggled mightily against Derrick Rose on Thursday night and I think Williams has the potential to burn the Knicks tonight. However, I think Shumpert will have a more favorable defensive matchup against Williams. While Rose is small and quick, Williams is not as quick and is a bigger bodied point guard. I am interested to see how Shumpert matches up against the Nets star tonight.
  • This is my basically how I react every time I watch Toney Douglas play point guard:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lo3-OSj8XI&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLD83E25BF51ECD000]
  • It will be interesting to see if D’Antoni gambles tonight with Douglas. Last night, the lame duck coach stuck with Douglas in the 2nd half in an attempt to get his confidence up. Douglas was his usual ineffective self and helped Boston beat the Knicks. I think it is time to scratch the Toney Douglas point guard experiment. He clearly cannot do it and it is time for the Knicks to move him back to an off-ball shooting guard. Douglas is best in spot up situations in which he does not need to think and just needs to shoot. If the Knicks are going to stick with Douglas, he must get his head around playing defense and knocking down his shots. If D’Antoni is going to save his job, he needs to put the Knicks in better position to win games. Using Douglas at the point is not how you win games. D’Antoni must realize this and make changes.
  • The Knicks gotta keep Kris Humphries off the boards. Last night, ex-Knick donut inhaler Chris Wilcox killed the Knicks on the boards in the 2nd half and turned the game around. Tonight, ex-Kardashian Kris Humphries brings some actual talent to the garden. While he is hated by most for his toolish reality show antics, Humphries quietly is having a 2nd consecutive quality season. Humphries comes in averaging a double-double at 13.2 ppg and 10.4 rpg. Stoudemire will have to work to keep Humprhries off the boards or else the Knicks will lose again.
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