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Nets begin second half of season at home vs Knicks

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

You guys had a good All Star break? Got to catch up on your favorite shows backlogged on your DVR? Good because the Nets are back! When we last saw them, they were getting stomped out at home by the Grizzlies at the Barclays Center. They've got one more game at home before hitting the road for an extended road trip.

Waiting for the Nets will be the New York Knicks. They had been playing relatively well for much of the season, but have been in a tailspin for the past month. They're currently on a six game losing streak and have lost ten out of their 11 games. When we last saw them, they lost to the Wizards by three points at MSG. This is the first night of a back to back for the Knicks. They travel to Minneapolis to play the Wolves on Saturday night.

Where to follow the game

You've got four outlets tonight. YES and MSG Networks on TV with ESPN 98.7 and WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip after 7:30. Also, YES and brooklynnets.com will carry Sean Marke introductory press conference live, starting at 6:30.

Injuries

Rondae Hollis Jefferson has been taking part in partial practices and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Nothing doing for the Knicks.

The game

Here's how the first half went for the two New York teams

2015-2016

Brooklyn

New York

Record

14-40 23-32

Pace

96.68 96.02

Offensive Efficiency

99.3 102.1

Defensive Efficiency

106.7 104.7

Turnover Rate

15.6 13.9

Assist Rate

16.8 15.9

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.9 24.2

Rebound Rate

49.6 50

Free Throw Rate

23.2 26.7

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.7 48.1

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.5 48.6

The Knicks won the first game while Brooklyn took game two.

Things have been pretty busy off the court for both teams over the past week. The Nets were able to fill the vacancy left by Billy King's dismissal with the hiring of Sean Marks. He will be holding his introductory press conference before this game and we'll have complete coverage here. For the Knicks, they fired Derek Fisher just before the Break and replaced him with Kurt Rambis. Rambis will be the coach for the remainder of the season, and if things go well, he will give himself a good chance of being named full time head coach.

Now that we're past the trading deadline, the next day to keep an eye on is March 1. That's the playoff eligibility deadline and players that have been bought out will be on their new rosters and set for the rest of the year. All signs point to Andrea Bargnani being bought out in order to free up minutes for rookie Chris McCullough. Joe Johnson might be a buyout candidate as well, but so far he's indicated that it isn't something he wants.

The Knicks are in a tricky spot. They've exceeded expectations and are kinda close to the eighth seed but they still aren't particularly good. That's left rookie Jerian Grant in a tough spot. He's someone that will benefit from extended minutes so he has more opportunities to develop, but Rambis indicated he might cut down on his minutes.

The family matchup on the inside should be good. Robin Lopez has been a nice addition to the team and has contributed in a variety of ways. Mike Prada took a look at Robin over at the mothership and wrote:

Lopez does more than rebound. He's a fine rim protector aided by the Knicks' conservative scheme, which lets him stay around the basket. Opponents shoot just 45.8 percent at the basket when he's defending, a solid number. He's a decent shot blocker, but he understands the value of reaching his arms as high as possible and getting big.

Brook has been the best thing about the Nets over the past two seasons and will be one of the players the Nets hope will get them back into contention soon. He's been good all season and has continued to play well under interim coach Tony Brown. Since Brown's debut as coach, Brook has been averaging 21 points and seven rebounds on 54 percent shooting from the floor. He's most effective close to the rim, and the Nets will look to get him the ball early and often. Brooklyn has been taking and making more three pointers since the coaching change, and if the Knicks decide to double Brook, the Nets shooters can punish them from deep.

Player to watch: Carmelo Anthony

There were some rumors about Melo possibly being sent to Cleveland, but he shut them down immediately and nothing came of it. He's been hampered by left knee soreness recently but has played through it for the most part. He's averaging around 21 points and eight rebounds a night, but most importantly, he's been averaging a career high 4.2 assists a game. Melo will always be a great scorer, and if he can continue to keep his teammates involved in the offense, it makes everyone better and him an even more difficult player to defend.

While he's still here, Joe Johnson will be the person responsible for scoring on the perimeter. After a terrible start to the year, he's gotten himself back on track and has been the second best player on the team since the new year. He's been shooting close to 50 percent from the field and three point range since January 2nd vs Boston. Having Johnson around gives Lopez some breathing room on offense and if he continues to play well, might wind up back with the team next season.

From the Vault

It's been five years since Melo was traded to the Knicks. Head back to his debut with the team in February of 2011.

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