Clash of the Boroughs, IV: Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Normally, the final game of the Nets - Knicks series takes place the last week of the season. Some years, it meant something. Most, it didn't. The two teams so rarely played well in the same season. This year, the last game take place at the season's mid-point, Game 41. That means bragging rights have a longer lifespan, at least into the playoffs.

The first two games in the series were classic. The first was an overtime thriller at Barclays Center that ended with fans chanting "Brook-Lyn" from the upper bowl through the entrance plaza and down onto the subway. The second, also at Barclays Center, ended with the greatest player in Nets history breaking his old team's heart with a three pointer in the last seconds. Then, at the Garden, the Nets obviously in disarray, were crushed by the Knicks just before Christmas. The Nets fell six games behind the Knicks. Within a week, Avery Johnson was gone.

Since then, the Knicks have done in one direction, the Nets in another. The Knicks are gone 4-5, the Nets 10-2 and when the two teams take the court at 3:30 p.m. Monday, the Nets are two games behind the Knicks.

While the Nets are healthy, the Knicks roster is checkered. Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert are available although neither will get big minutes. Shumpert played in his first game Thursday, starting but registering only 15 minutes (8 and 3). Raymond Felton, Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace are out.

What to look for? Will Brook Lopez play well against Tyson Chandler? Chandler dominated the Knicks win at the Garden. Will the rest help Jason Kidd's declining game. In November, he shot 50.9 percent overall, 48.9 percent from three. This month, he's down to 34 and 33.3. Can Gerald Wallace do anything on Carmelo Anthony. In the last three games vs. the Nets? He's averaging 37 points.

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