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Battle of the Boroughs II - Nets host Knicks

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NBA: New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Back in New York, and back on the winning track. After a trip to Mexico City, the Brooklyn Nets came back in town to play the Washington Wizards. It looked as if they were on their way to an excruciating loss, but managed to snap out of it in time and came away with a win on Tuesday night. The Nets have now won three of their last four, and five of their last eight games.

This is the first night of a back-to-back for Brooklyn. They’re headed to Toronto to face the Raptors tomorrow night, the reunion/revenge game for DeMarre Carroll.

The opponent tonight will be the New York Knicks. They’ve managed to exceed expectations and have a good chance at making the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. They helped their cause by beating the Lakers in overtime Tuesday night. Don’t be surprised if everyone overlooks this game. New York’s next game will be on Saturday when Carmelo Anthony returns to MSG. That promises to be a fun evening.

Where to follow the game

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

Injuries

Nothing new for Brooklyn. Isaiah Whitehead, as of Thursday morning, is assigned to Long Island, but that could change.

Tim Hardaway, Jr. is dealing with a leg injury and won’t be playing.

The game

The Knicks won the first game in October.

So hey, um, which one of y’all knows how to slow down Kristaps Porzingis? KP has become fully acclimated into his role as leading man and has Knicks fans genuinely excited for the first time in a while. He can score from anywhere on the court, is constantly adding new tools to his repertoire, and is a solid defender in his own right. Plus, he talks a lot, and trash-talking All Stars make games more fun. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be matched up with KP tonight. Bryan Fonseca has a separate piece on that rivalry, which despite the difference in height has been very competitive

Spencer Dinwiddie will be key for Brooklyn tonight. Although I have the occasional quibble with his shot selection, he's been a Godsend for Kenny Atkinson. Having a guard that can push tempo and keep his turnover rate at absurdly low levels will always keep you competitive. He'll see a good amount of rookie Frank Ntilikina. Big Frank has been coming off the bench, but has seen his minutes steadily increase as of late.

Amazingly, Michael Beasley is still in the league and makes the occasional nice play when he's on the court. More importantly, he's transitioned nicely into his role as team Dapmaster and I'm always here for that.

Also, old friend Jarrett Jack will be back at Barclays for the first time since he was injured nearly two years ago, ending his season ... and almost his career.

This is a big game for New York. Why? Because of their inability to win a game outside the friendly confines of the Garden. As Fred Kerber notes, the Knicks are an NBA-worst 1-8 and have lost six straight away from their home court. And the Knickerbockers are about to go on a horrendous stretch where they play 17 of their next 24 games on the road.

Jahlil Okafor? Nik Stauskas? Doesn’t seem likely. Atkinson is taking his time, letting the two, who’ve played 70 minutes between them this year, get adjusted to the Brooklyn game. Then again, gotta let the new guys get their feet wet before throwing them in the fire. So, maybe we see them?

Player to watch: Enes Kanter

Even though he's a bit of a try-hard, Kanter has been a nice acquisition for Jeff Hornacek's squad. He's third on the team in scoring, first in rebounding, and more importantly, is shooting a career best 60.3 percent from the field. He doesn't see the court much when the game is close late, but you'll live with it when he plays well in the early portions of the game.

Kanter, by the way, is a big fan of Okafor.

“He’s a good player. He’s really good offensively, he’s got the footwork and everything, he’s strong. I think he’s just so young. He’s going to get better and better. He just needs to get used to it a little bit, the NBA game. But I think he’s a good man. I like him,” Kanter said.

From the Vault

You could always count on Jason Kidd to put on a show against the Knicks.

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