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Nets and Knicks, going in opposite directions, face off in Brooklyn

NBA: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this week has been fun ... so far! Another close game, another clutch performance, and another win. It’s almost like the Nets are a playoff team or something, right? Weird. Still getting used to this new reality but I am also not complaining.

By the way, the win against the Magic on Wednesday pushed the Nets record up to 26-23, just a couple of wins away from their total last season. Also, they have a two game cushion between them and the 7th seed Hornets and are (I know this is a Pipe Dream but stay with me here) 4.5 games out of the 5th seed. The Nets started The Tank down and said “Not this year” and guess what? It worked!

Other teams, like uhh let’s use maybe the other basketball team stationed in New York City for example, looked at The Tank and just kind of hopped right on. The Knicks, who are heading across the river to play in Barclays on Friday, are in full tank mode as they try their best to land presumably Zion Williamson or whomever they think is going to be the best player with the highest pick they can possibly get. They’re 10-36, and they’ve gone 2-22 going back to December 3rd. This should not be a tough one for the Nets but the Knicks have a knack for making things interesting when they shouldn’t be, especially in Brooklyn.

And, oh yeah, Spencer Dinwiddie. Let’s get into it.

Where To Follow The Game

YES and WFAN at 7:30 pm, ET. Also, MSG and ESPN New York 98.7FM, if you care to try an inferior product and


Caris LeVert (foot) Jared Dudley (hamstring) and Allen Crabbe (knee) are still out while Dzanan Musa (shoulder) is close.

Oh yeah, there’s this: Spencer Dinwiddie is being examined by specialists to determine how badly did he hurt his right thumb. Bottom line, initial reports indicate a serious injury, but Dinwiddie seemed to tone down speculation...

Still, he and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are both questionable. We are likely to have a better injury picture on Friday.

Luke Kornet (ankle) and of course Kristaps Porzingis (knee) are out. Also Enes Kanter has been hit with DNP-CD’s left and right lately so who knows if he’ll see any action. He’s definitely out of the rotation, but his success against the Nets might move David Fizdale to reconsider.

The Game

“The Brooklyn Nets have scared the hell out of me because I’m a lifelong Knicks fan ... I’m incredibly impressed with what I’ve seen the Nets doing ... somebody better pay attention ... and nobody should be paying attention more than the Knicks,” - Stephen A. Smith, ESPN

The Knicks are bad and the Nets are good and I really hope this game isn’t stressful or close or challenging in any way. It would just be so much fun for Brooklyn to come out and absolutely dominate a game against the Knicks at home.

In order to do that, the Nets just have to keep up their recent energy and continue to play within Kenny Atkinson’s offense when they can and improvise when D’Angelo Russell or whoever decides to just kind of pull up from like 29 feet because they’re in the mood.

The Knicks are last in the league in field goal percentage, assists, true shooting percentage, and rank close to last in a bevy of other categories like opponent points allowed per game and Net Rating. The Nets, in January, are 6th in the league in Defensive Rating, 12th in Offensive Rating, and 9th in Net Rating which, over the course of a full season, would make them one of the best teams in the league.

The Knicks, despite being bad, have some decent young players and maybe even a couple of veterans who could be flipped in a couple of weeks for assets or salary cap relief or something. Tim Hardaway Jr. is the leading candidate, being owed $18 million next year with another $18 million player option the year after that. If the Knicks really want to sign a big free agent, getting Hardaway off their books would help. He’s a solid offensive player, and while he’s shooting just 39% from the field and 35% from three this season, some of that can be attributed to his being essentially the only shot creator on the floor for large stretches of time and he has a green light period. On a good team with a system and players ahead of him on the depth chart, those numbers would probably get a bump. But his scoring average wouldn’t likely be that high either.

On the last episode of the D’Angelo Chronicles, our favorite starting point guard put up 25 points 10 assists and seven rebounds against Orlando which brings his January line up to 24.1 points, 7.7 assists, and 4 rebounds with 1.1 steals and 49% shooting from the field with 44% shooting from three. All-Star numbers, if you will. But that’s not all!

DLo’s partner in crime Spencer Dinwiddie also played well amidst a recent hot streak and it seems as if the two are now figuring out how to both be great together at the same time. Or at least, in the same games. This would be a huge development for the Nets and the key to making wins against teams like the Knicks or the Magic or really any team worse than the Nets, easier. That’s the next step in franchise development, getting to the point where beating the bad teams is expected and happens frequently, not just on hot streaks where it’s still a little bit of a surprise every time. Having two great point guards night in and night out would make that a whole lot easier.

Every week or so I just like to remind everyone that Joe Harris is shooting 47% from three this season and is an essential member of this team and we should all appreciate his contributions on both sides of the ball. He’s exactly what this team needs and has always tried to develop. Shouts to Joe.

Oh yeah, one other thing: Brooook-lyn, Brooook-lyn, Brooook-lyn,

Player To Watch

Kevin Knox is somehow still 19 years old which is good for the Knicks because it seems as if he might end up being a solid player once he isn’t a teenager anymore. Knox is averaging 12.3 points per game this season, and that number bumps up to 16.3 since December 9th. He’s shooting well under 40% for the season, which once again can be partially attributed to his being on the Knicks, but he has a solid scorer’s body and is genuinely athletic even for an NBA player. If the Knicks can develop him well, he will end up a very solid player and a tough opponent for years.

From The Vault

Hope everyone has a great day.


For a different perspective, head on over to Posting & Toasting, the Knicks fan site on SB Nation