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Nets try to stop two losing streaks vs. Knicks

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The Nets have lost five straight overall and ten in a row (second longest streak in franchise history) at home. Tonight figures to be a road game for the players as Knicks fans will probably be making the most noise at Barclays Center.

It's a family affair
It's a family affair
Al Bello/Getty Images

It's a new day in Brooklyn. Fresh off firing the head coach and reassignment --yet to be detailed-- of  the general manager, the Brooklyn Nets played host to the San Antonio Spurs at Barclays Center on Monday night. Unfortunately for the Nets, their new day involved a meeting with the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs dominated the second half and came away with a 27 point victory, their tenth win of at least 25 points this season. Coincidentally enough, it was Brooklyn's tenth straight loss at home (five straight overall). New day, same old Nets.

Visiting the Barclays Center this evening will be the much improved New York Knicks. After setting a franchise record low with 17 wins last season, they've already surpassed that total and have a good chance at making the playoffs as the eighth seed. This is the second night of a back-to-back for the Knickerbockers. They beat the Celtics at MSG last night and are one game behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed.

Where to follow the game

Double coverage tonight. YES and MSG Networks on TV. ESPN 98.7 and WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Joe Johnson was limited in practice yesterday with a bruised left quad. He's probable for tonight.

Carmelo Anthony left the game yesterday after spraining his right ankle last night and his status for tonight is up in the air. Cleaanthony Early is hoping to return in March after he was shot in the knee during a robbery in late December.

The game

Check it

2015-2016

Brooklyn

New York

Record

10-28 20-20

Pace

97.25 96.15

Offensive Efficiency

97.3 102.2

Defensive Efficiency

104.8 103.4

Turnover Rate

15.5 14.3

Assist Rate

16.3 16

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24.4 24.6

Rebound Rate

50.1 50

Free Throw Rate

22.5 26.2

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.4 48.3

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

51.7 47.5

The Knicks won the first game in early December.

Kristaps Porzingis has been a revelation for Derek Fisher and the Knicks. He's third among rookies in scoring, second in double doubles and is a pretty decent three point shooter for his size. He's won over all the fans and as he continues to develop, he might help push the Knicks back into title contention. He and his fellow rookie Jerian Grant have started to develop some nice chemistry with one another, so it'll be interesting to see if Derek Fisher has them on the court together for extended minutes. Grant is coming off of his best game as a pro, scoring 16 points, handing out eight assists, and not committing a single turnover in 23 minutes vs. Boston last night. The Knicks don't utilize the pick and roll much (second fewest per NBA stats), but Porzingis has been solid when used in it and his three point shooting makes life difficult for opposing big men. Thad Young and Donald Sloan have only played 97 minutes together, so they're gonna need more time together

We've focused on the Nets' strategy since Mikhail Prokhorov took over this week, and it's worth noting we're approaching the five year anniversary of Carmelo Anthony's trade to the Knicks. The Nets tried their best to land Melo, but fell short in the end. They went on to get Deron Williams right after, and that's its own tangled mess. The focus on superstar (or close enough) players shouldn't come in the way of solid mid tier pickups and development of young players. As we get closer to the offseason and the Nets (maybe?) hire a permanent coach and general manager, it'll be interesting to see how they go about targeting which players can/would want to join the team and help turn things around. Brook Lopez and Thad Young have floated Brooklyn to players, and while their attempts are nice, free agents are probably gonna want a lot more from the organization before coming here.

With Melo hobbled, Aaron Afflalo should see an increase in his shot attempts. Afflalo is tied with Porzingis for second in shots per game, averaging a shade under 12 a night. He's shooting a solid 47 percent from the floor and 36 percent from three point range. He's a capable second/third option for the Knicks and was a nice pickup on a two year contract. Little signings like that along with promising rookies and Melo have helped make the Knicks respectable again after a disastrous 2014-2015 season.

Afflalo figures to be matched up with Joe Johnson. Monday's game was the first time Johnson has played under 30 minutes since December 14 against Orlando. Both games were blowouts so it made sense for him not to play that much. Even with that, his minutes should probably be in the upper 20s from here on out. He's been consistently terrible for much of the season and the Nets might as well see if Bojan Bogdanovic can be someone worth keeping around for the foreseeable future.

Player to watch: Robin Lopez

Lopez was another one of those mid tier signings the Knicks made in the summer, and it's been paying off. He's one of the better rebounders on the team, a crafty scorer in the post, and is a good defender at his position. His minutes are down compared to where they were in Portland, but it hasn't really slowed him down. He's also a notorious mascot hater, so if there was ever a night for the Brooklyn Knight to return to the Barclays Center, this game would be it. Mascots gotta stick together!

The Nets strategy under Tony Brown was to get Brook Lopez the ball early and often. He took 12 of his 17 shots in the first half when the game was close and scored 14 points. For the Nets to have any hope of being competitive, they're going to need Lopez to play big minutes and lead the team in scoring every night.

From the Vault

Yesterday was the State of the Union, and if you think back to October 2015, President Obama visited a prison in Oklahoma, making him the first POTUS to ever visit a prison. Carmelo Anthony went to visit with some young adults at Rikers Island a few months back.

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