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Nets host Knicks on MLK Day

Luther King March Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Getty Images

Almost. The Brooklyn Nets fell behind by a bunch against the Wizards in Washington DC and fought like hell to get back in the game. However, they fell short and lost in overtime on Saturday night.

The opponent this afternoon will be the New York Knicks. After a good start to the season, the Knicks are back to their usual shenanigans. They blew a 19 point lead at home to the New Orleans Pelicans yesterday and lost in overtime. It was their fourth loss in the last five games.

Where to follow the game

Double coverage today. YES Network and MSG on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM and ESPN 98.7 FM on radio. Tip off after 3 PM.

Injuries

Tyler Zeller missed Saturday’s game due to a sore left hip. He's listed as probable. There was a rumor that D'Angelo Russell would return from injury today, but that's not gonna happen. Not N:OW but S:OON. The Nets announced this morning that DLo has been assigned to the Long Island Nets so he can practice on a Brooklyn game day. Brooklyn practices again tomorrow.

Isaiah Whitehead remains with Long Island, Milton Doyle with Brooklyn.

Tim Hardaway, Jr suffered a nasty fall when he collided with Anthony Davis yesterday, but finished the game. He recently returned from an injury so he might be limited on the second half of a back to back.

The game

The Knicks won the first game in October and second one in December.

The Knicks have been struggling recently, and are officially starting a road trip today. After this, they're going to: Memphis, Utah, Los Angeles, Golden State, Denver, and Phoenix. This trip will likely decide their season.

The Jahlil Okafor experiment has been running hot and cold. After scoring 17 points in Atlanta, he only saw 7:43 of action in DC. A lot of that was due to Quincy Acy and Jarrett Allen having great games. He'll have to battle those two for minutes and a lot of his playing time will be matchup dependent. He'll be seeing Enes Kanter this afternoon. Kanter is a solid second to third option on offense and is a fun quote. Also, he did this yesterday.

My man.

Assuming Hardaway is playing, the Knkcks will have somebody on the perimeter who can create their own shot. He's averaging a career high 18 points a game, but is shooting a career low 31.8 percent from deep. It'll be up to Caris Levert and Allen Crabbe to check Hardaway and keep things working on the perimeter for the Nets. Levert in particular has been great as of late and the more we watch him, the more it looks like he'll be a major building block for the Nets going forward.

The game will also feature a reunion of sorts for the 2013 University of Michigan NCAA Championship Finals team. The Knicks signed Trey Burke over the weekend. He will join Hardaway Jr. on the New York roster. Two other members of that team, LeVert and Nik Stauskas, are on the Nets.

Fun fact: the Nets and Knicks both lost overtime thrillers in their last games, but the circumstances were quite different: The Nets were down 20 at the half Saturday night, came back and tied the game, losing to the Wizards. The Knicks were up 19 in the third Sunday, lost the big lead, losing to the Pelicans.

Player to watch: Kristaps Porzingis

So, Porzingis is clearly great, but it feels like he should be even better. He's 14th in fourth quarter scoring and third in clutch points, but there are times when the Knicks forget to get him the ball late. Over at The Ringer, Kevin O'Connor made the following observation:

Managing KP will be the most important thing for the Knicks going forward. It's up to them to put him in the best position to succeed and to make sure he doesn't break down by carrying too big of a load.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will match up with the Unicorn. Rondae does a lot of great things for the Nets and his versatility opens things up for Kenny Atkinson. If he can throw Porzingis off his game early, it will slow the Knicks offense down immensely and force them into taking poor shots.

From the Vault

We’re taking a few trips today. On this day 28 years ago, Trent Tucker sparked a rule change in the NBA.

Of course, the big thing to know is that today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Our first MLK trip to the Vault will focus on Coretta Scott King. We sometimes forget, bit Coretta was an incredibly important activist in her own right.

And lastly, as the league celebrates MLK Day, the Grizzlies are unveiling a special jersey honoring Dr. King’s involvement in the Memphis sanitation workers strike of 1968. Let’s learn a little bit more about the last campaign Dr. King was involved in before his assassination.

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