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Nets stare down the Knicks tank

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Longest winning streak of the season. Granted, it's only four games but it's coming at the right time for the Nets. Brooklyn got their fourth straight win last night, a 111-106 final over the Indiana Pacers at the Barclays Center. Brooklyn is back in the eighth seed, but there's still a long way to go between now and the end of the regular season.

Waiting for the Nets will be the New York Knicks. Depending on your perspective, the Knicks have been doing great lately. They lost their seventh straight game on Saturday night, a 111-80 decision to the Chicago Bulls. They have the worst record in the league and have a great chance of landing the No. 1 overall draft pick in the upcoming draft. More on that in a bit.

Where to follow the game

YES and MSG Network on TV, WFAN 101.9 and ESPN 98.7 FM on the radio. Tip off is after 7:30.

Hand in hand

Last night, the Spurs beat the Heat in Miami. Here's an updated look at the scrum taking place at the bottom of the Eastern Conference:

2014-2015

Record

Games behind

Tiebreaker situation

Games remaining

Milwaukee

36-38 own tiebreaker over Hornets and Heat, split series vs. Pacers, lead 1-0 vs. Celtics(next games are 4/3 and the last day of the season, 4/15), lead 2-1 vs. Nets (final meeting on 4/12) 8

Miami

34-40

-

own tiebreaker over Nets and Celtics, down 2-1 to Hornets (final meeting on 4/7), lost series vs. Pacers and Bucks 8

Brooklyn

33-40

-

own tiebreaker vs. Charlotte and Indiana, lost season series to Celtics and Heat, down 2-1 to Milwaukee 9

Boston

33-41

0.5

Won season series vs. Nets and Hornets, down 1-0 to Bucks, up 2-1 vs. Pacers 8

Indiana

32-42

1.5

split series with Bucks, lost season series to Nets, own tiebreaker vs. Hornets and Heat, down 2-1 vs. Celtics (final meeting 4/1) 8

Charlotte

31-42

2

lost season series to Nets, Pacersand Celtics, lead 2-1 vs. Heat, won season series vs. Bucks 9

It's a jam packed schedule tonight. The Hornets host the Pistons, the Celtics and Pacers meet in Boston (airing on NBATV), and the Bucks host the Bulls.

Injuries

Nothing doing for the Nets.

Carmelo Anthony won't be back until next season, Tim Hardaway Jr. is doubtful for tonight's game, Travis Wear is questionable, Alexy Shved is out, and Jose Calderon is questionable.

The game

What's the story with these clubs? Let's get into it:

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn New York

Record

33-40 14-60

Pace

94.99 93.51

Offensive Efficiency

101.3 97.1

Defensive Efficiency

104.6 107.6

Turnover Rate

14.5 15.3

Assist Rate

16.3 16.8

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.5 24.5

Rebounding Rate

48.7 48

Free Throw Rate

26.9 23

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49 46.9

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

50.1 51.4

The Nets won the first contest in November, second in December, and most recent game in February.

There's been talk of Phil Jackson possibly trading their draft pick in order to get a player that can help the Knicks win now. Over at Posting and Toasting, Seth Rosenthal disapproves of this and wrote:

Look around the league. Look at every team winning games. With minimal exception, a contender's core includes a key cog they drafted with a lottery pick. That's an indicator of good business, and it also seems like the best part of being a fan. I want that feeling. I want to watch a player put on the Knicks hat, then I want to overreact to his performance in Summer League, then I want to watch him struggle, show flashes of potential, absorb smart coaching, withstand doubts and unpleasant rumors, hone his game and his body, grow into our star, sign another contract, and compete for ringz. Then I want him to win multiple championships and retire a Knick and have a statue made in his likeness with a lap I can sit on.

That can apply to almost every team in the league. They should hold onto their pick, but we're a long way away from the Draft Lottery and eventual Draft.

Joe Johnson has been playing very well as of late. He scored 21 points against the Pacers and hit a late three pointer that put the game away. He had been playing terribly for much of the second half, but has started to play well during Brooklyn's winning streak. If he and Deron Williams can continue to play well down the stretch, then the Nets can hold off the other teams trying to get the eighth seed.

Player to watch: Andrea Bargnani

Bargs is the most recognizable name on the Knicks roster at this point. He joined the team in the 2013 offseason but has had two injury filled seasons in New York. He returned in early February and has started every game since the end of February. Playing under a new offense has changed where he's getting his shot attempts. Only 10 percent of his shot attempts have come from three point range and the majority of his shots have been long two pointers. With a roster like this, he will be the focal point of the Knicks offense until the end of the season. This is the last season of his contract, and barring something unforeseen, he won't be back with the club next season.

The Nets should continue getting the ball to Brook Lopez. The big man led the team in scoring with 24 points and also collected 11 rebounds. He didn't take a single shot in the fourth quarter and that's something that should never happen. The Knicks are incredibly thin behind Bargnani so Brooklyn should look to get Lopez involved early. When Bargnani is on offense, he can draw Lopez out to the perimeter with his jump shot. It may be enough toslow Lopez down.

From the Vault

With all of the talk surrounding what the Knicks will do with their draft pick, let's head back to 1991 and watch former number one picks David Robinson and Patrick Ewing in action.

More reading: Posting and ToastingIndy CornrowsCeltics BlogAt the Hive, and Brew Hoop