The Knicks travel back to the Barclays Center tonight to take on the Nets in the second meeting of the NBA’s newest rivalry. The Nets won the first chapter of this saga in overtime, 96-89, back on Nov. 25 in Brooklyn where the Knicks were without Jason Kidd, but both teams have gone in different directions since that game. The Knickerbockers have won six of seven since the road loss to the Nets, while the Nets have dropped four straight games including three in a row at home. Tonight marks the end of a four-game home stand for the Nets, and the Knicks would love nothing more than to give them an 0-4 home trip at the Barclays.
Brook Lopez has missed the last five games for the Nets and will miss tonight’s game as well. Lopez killed the Knicks in the first meeting with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. On the flip side, Tyson Chandler has been on a tear recently, averaging 15 points, 10 rebounds and shooting over 75% from the field in his last 10 contests. He torched the Nets for 28 and 10 in the last meeting, and with no Lopez tonight, Chandler could be due for a huge game. He and Felton have developed a great chemistry and the high pick and roll, and even Felton’s drives to the basket that go for misses turn into assists for Chandler.
The Knicks and Nets currently sit atop the Atlantic Division standings, with the Knicks holding a 3 ½ game lead and the top seed in the Eastern Conference. It is the latest the Knicks have been first in the conference since the 1994 season when they went to the Finals. With the rest of the division struggling a bit it’s a great chance for the Knicks to really put a stranglehold on it. I still think the Knicks and Nets are the two best teams in the division, and tonight is a statement game for both teams.
The impact of this game goes deeper than just the standings, for obvious reasons. All clichés aside, the Nets want to be the dominant team in New York, and are still the only Eastern Conference team to beat the Knicks. A rivalry has started and the Knicks need to claim their first victory in the battle of New York.
This is a great, great win for the Knicks. Playing the 4th game in 5 nights, the Knicks showed some signs of fatigue early in the game. Overall the Knick defense wasn’t very good, allowing Denver to shoot 55% for the game, but they continued to fight and grind the entire game. Jason Kidd was reminiscent of god, JaVale McGee was hilarious and Steve Novak hit a pair of three point bombs to spark a fourth quarter comeback. The defense bore down when it had to and Melo sealed the game with some clutch buckets in the final minutes. This is a game that great teams win. New York didn’t play it’s best, but that was good enough tonight. A great win for a seemingly great 15-5 Knicks team. Oh yeah, they’re 8-0 at home this year.
Howdy y’all! So the Knicks play Melo’s old team, the Denver Nuggets, at Madison Square Garden tonight. Tonight’s rumble will be the Knicks 4th game in 5 nights and they’re sure to have some heavy legs. However Carmelo Anthony’s return would spark the team, in my humble opinion. It is still unknown whether Anthony will play, but I believe he probably will. In fact, I’d be surprised if he didn’t play.
Studying for my finals are brutally abusing me, so I’ve got to keep the pre-game a bit short today. Here’s what you need to know for today’s game: More
Pretty much the only thing you need to know about this game is this:
This was a 90′s flashback game. There was tough defense by both squads, not a lot of offense and a lot of sloppiness. Both teams played even throughout the game, but the Knicks ran out of gas down the stretch. Without Carmelo Anthony for the second straight game, the Knicks struggled against the defensive minded Bulls. New York couldn’t find their stroke from downtown, shooting just 8/23 from downtown. Usually great in the turnover category, the Knicks uncharacteristically coughed up the ball over 15 times tonight. Carrying the load of the Knicks shooting by default tonight, Raymond Felton was an abysmal 9/30 shooting from the field. JR Smith’s 4/14 performance made me sad and Ronnie Brewer chipped in a solid 0/5 clip. As a team, the Knicks shot just 32% tonight.
No Melo, no problem. Having their star player sit with a lacerated finger, the Knicks trounced the defending champion Heat 112-92 Thursday night in Miami. Raymond Felton carried the scoring load with maybe his best game as a pro, scoring 27 points on 10/20 shooting the ball. The NBA’s number one offense rode a 37 point third quarter and a lockdown defensive fourth quarter to turn the grudge match into a laugher. LeBron James played well, but the Knicks were able to render Dwayne Wade useless tonight. Wade, quickly ascending from superstardom in this league, shot just 3/13 and was a game low -33 in +/- on the night. Chris Bosh also was ineffective in his 30 minutes played.
Salutations friends! Your EASTERN CONFERENCE LEADING New York Knickerbockers face off against the evil empire of LeBane James and the Miami Heat tonight. Coming off a hilarious last second victory yesterday against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Knicks are a bit banged up. Jason Kidd just returned from back spasms in yesterdays game. Raymond Felton has a bruised left hand. Carmelo Anthony lacerated his left finger diving into the stands for a loose ball yesterday and is questionable to play. I think the Knicks stand a good chance to win tonight, even if Anthony misses the game.
The Knicks and Heat are the two best offensive teams in basketball, ranking 1st and 2nd in offensive efficiency in the league respectively. New York is the 11th best defensive team in the league, while Miami comes in ranked 19th. Both squads rank towards the bottom of the league in pace.
After a two off days, the 12-4 Knicks return to action as they head down south to North Carolina to play the 7-9 Charlotte Bobcats tonight. The Knicks are coming in a little banged up at the point guard position, with bulldog/duck/point guard Raymond Felton expected to start after acquiring a bruise on his left hand in the Knicks win over the Suns on Sunday (puns!) and Jason Kidd expected to come off the bench after dealing with back spasms that kept him out of the past three games. A couple of things to watch for:
The Bobcats play at the sixth highest pace in the league. The Knicks play at the third lowest. As with almost every game, the point guard are going to have to slow down the tempo and keep it under control. Moreover, the Knicks are going to have to deal with the athleticism that the Cats’ have. Kemba Walker is lightning quick, and stopping his dribble-penetrations will be key. Second overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a dynamic wing who has defended very well this year and can also fly. In the frontcourt, Bismack Biyombo stands out athletically. He averages 1.6 blocks per game, can get them in bunches.
As mentioned earlier, Jason Kidd will be coming off the bench. It will be interesting to see if he can help get the defense back on track by doing his veteran, Jason Kidd-things. His return should also let Woodson play around with his backcourt combinations, and have potentially have more of those 2-point guard lineups that have been working very well for the Knicks this year. And finally, and maybe most importantly, Kidd said that he will not be wearing the headband. Thank goodness. It’s as if Basketball-Hanukkah has come early this year.
SHEEEEEEEEEED. Rasheed Wallace played only 85 seconds on Sunday after getting ejected with two technical fouls. Sheed should be well rested and readytopickupmoretech’sreadytoplaysmotheringdefense ready to launch more regretful three pointers. Without Marcus Camby (plantar fasciitis) Sheed will likely be the first big man off the bench and have to play some important minutes.
Felton will be wearing a pad on his left hand, and I expect him to be fine. After all, he did launch up a falling away three-pointer on the possession immediately after hurting his hand. Bulldog gonna’ bulldog.
Bobcats center Byron Mullens is 7″0, 275 lbs and he averages 5.3 three point attempts a game. He averages 1.5 makes per game. This is hilarious.
Finally, Ben Gordon has been on fire lately. He’s made 18 threes in his last three games. I think that’s a lot. Yeah, it’s a lot. The Knicks are going to hope he cools off and make sure they stay with him out on the perimeter.
And them’s be the things to watch for. The Knicks should win this game, and make sure they don’t look past it with their showdown against the Heat happening tomorrow. Tip off is a little after 7 PM ET.
Before the season started, I wrote on here that I believed Ronnie Brewer would be the Knicks best off-season acquisition. I was wrong. That distinction goes to Jason Kidd, who has impacted this team in more ways than what can be measured in a box score. However, Brewer has performed incredibly well in his first 16 games as a Knick. He has started all 16 games this season, starting at both small forward and shooting guard. Brought in as a defensive stalwart, Brewer has been very solid on that end of the floor as expected. Suprisingly, his impact has mostly been felt on the offensive end of the floor.
A career 26% three point shooter, Brewer was not thought of as a guy who would contribute much on the offensive side of things. He was brought in as a defender who would bring a defensive balance alongside more offense oriented players like Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and JR Smith. To the surprise of everybody, including Brewer himself probably, he has been much more than that. More