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It's that time of year again: Nets vs. Knicks

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Don't be sad, be glad!
Don't be sad, be glad!
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Sloppiness is never the way to go. The Nets had their two game winning streak snapped on Wednesday evening, losing to the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves 98-91. This is game three of a four game homestand. After Sunday afternoon's game against Orlando, Brooklyn will head west for a three game road trip.

Coming into the Barclays Center this evening will be the New York Knicks. The team has undergone dramatic changes since Brooklyn last saw them and while they aren't expected to compete for a championship this year, they have had some impressive wins. Last game against Detroit wasn't one of them. New York lost 98-95. After this game, the Knicks travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks on the second night of a back-to-back.

Where to follow the game

With this being a local game, there are a variety of options. On television, you can watch the game on either the YES Network or MSG. If you're not near a television, you can listen to the game on either 101.9 FM WFAN or 98.7 ESPN Radio. Tip off is at 7:30.

Injuries

The Nets have a clean bill of health.

As for the Knicks, Pablo Prigioni sprained his ankle in Detroit and there isn't an update to his status as of this writing. The other point guard, Jose Calderon, has yet to appear this season as he's been dealing with a calf injury. Along with those two, Andrea Bargnani is dealing with a hamstring injury and hasn't played in a meaningful game since...

The game

One thing that has to change is the amount of turnovers committed by Brooklyn. The Nets committed 18 turnovers on Wednesday, including a costly one late in the game. As the Nets progress in the season, managing their possessions, especially against the elite teams, will be crucial if they want to win.

After a stellar debut, Brook Lopez struggled mightily against Minnesota. He only shot 3-10 from the floor and was outmuscled by Nikola Pekovic. Asked to assess his big man's performance, Lionel Hollins said:

I mean, it happens. You’ve got to give Pekovic credit. He was a man in there, and I’m always saying there’s always a badder man than you in the prison, and you’ve got to do it every night. Pek won tonight

It's still going to take time for Lopez to resemble the player Brooklyn fans are familiar with, but the fact that he's back and was able to play close to 34 minutes on his second night back is a positive sign. He'll be dealing with former Seton Hall Pirate Samuel Dalembert tonight.

Through two weeks, Deron Williams has been going to the basket more often and has looked much better than he did last season.Life is better when you're healthy.

Joe Johnson almost carried the Nets to another victory, but it wasn't to be. Even still, he's been Brooklyn's best player two weeks into the season. Iman Shumpert figures to draw the assignment of guarding Johnson.

It's been a while since we've seen the triangle offense being run fulltime in the NBA. When you get a chance, check out this look at the triangle from Doug Eberhardt and friend of the site Mike Prada.

Jarrett Jack has his own take on the Knicks struggle with the triangle.

"It’s going to take some time for those guys to get used to their new system,’’ Jack told Mitch Lawerence now with NBC Sports. "Melo is a veteran and it’s a new system for him and their other guys. They’re learning what their reads are. I think he’ll eventually adjust. Hopefully, they’ll figure it out Saturday, not Friday, know what I mean?’’

Carmelo Anthony's numbers aren't the best right now, but he's still one of the league's best players. He's only averaging 19.6 points per game on 40.6 percent from the field but he has finished in the top ten in scoring for the last eight seasons. In theory, a player like Andrei Kirilenko would be given the task of hounding Melo all game. Kirilenko has the length to make life hell for one of the league's best players and has enough size to thwart Melo when he posts up. However, Kirilenko has been missing so look for Alan Anderson to draw the assignment of guarding Melo.

J.R. Smith is back after serving a one game suspension for popping Glen Rice Jr. in the junk. When he's on his game, Smith can carry an offense and blitz an opponent from three point range. When he's not, he's a sure bet to shoot your team out of the game. Smith has never been a media favorite and is a sure bet to piss his own fans off, but he has his moments and can be a solid contributor.

Player to watch: Shane Larkin

I don't think anyone expected Larkin to be the Knicks starting point guard, but here we are. With Calderon out and Prigioni's status unknown as of this writing, Larkin will see most of the minutes at point. He came over from Dallas in the trade that sent Tyson Chandler back to the Mavericks, and he has some potential.

Larkin's going to be dealing with Deron Williams. So far, Williams appears to be back at the level that earned him universal praise in Utah. Through two weeks, Deron has been going to the basket more often and has looked much better than he did last seLife is better when you're healthy.

From the Vault

ESPN recently aired a documentary on the Knicks called "When the Garden was Eden." With that in mind, take a trip back to 1970 and relive one of the best performances in NBA Finals history.

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