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Borough Battle 2: Knicks host Nets at MSG

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Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Oh. Fresh off a win against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, the Brooklyn Nets played host to the Sacramento Kings on Friday night at Barclays Center. The Nets wound up cruising to a 19-point win.

Sunday’s game is the beginning of a brief Thanksgiving road trip. They're in Cleveland tomorrow night and Boston on Wednesday before coming home for Black Friday. The game on Wednesday won't be as heated as we originally expected. More on that in a bit.

The opponent Sunday will be the New York Knicks. As the team tries to figure out their identity, they've managed to keep busy. This is night two of a home back-to-back after losing against the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night. Despite the loss, they fought hard after being down by 28 and made San Antonio sweat at the end.

Where to follow the game

Double coverage tonight. YES Network and MSG on TV. ESPN 98.7 FM and WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 6 PM.

Injuries

Caris Levert and Wilson Chandler are out. Kyrie Irving's rehabbing and will miss the games in Cleveland and Boston as well. That Boston game was gonna be a rough one for Irving, so this recovery time will do him some good.

Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock are out.

The game

The Nets won the first meeting back in November.

For those of you looking to erase the memory of another maddening football Sunday, then this is the place for you!

The thing about having chaos upstairs is that it ruins everything you’ve been trying to build. For the Knicks, the recent drama surrounding management setting the stage for tossing David Fizdale overboard made things awkward for the people inside MSG. During the team's recent slump, BennyBuckets71 of Posting and Toasting wrote about the idea of Knicks management firing Fizdale and said:

Kicking the coach to the curb would do nothing but buy time for Mills and Perry, who pieced together this roster of second hand free agents and young homegrowns and expected Fizdale to figure out how to meld them into a winner with haste.

The team has to create stability in order to get back into contention. Figuring out who should lead those efforts will go a long way.

If there's one thing I appreciate about the Knicks as presently constitutes, it's that they have a bunch of dudes who WILL fight you if you push them. I appreciate that energy.

Spencer Dinwiddie will look to keep it going as the Nets leading man. He had another good game on Friday and as Irving continues to recover, Dinwiddie will lead the way. Brooklyn didn't see Frank Ntilikina the first time around (much to Knicks fans' objections), but he's a full fledged member of Fizdale's rotation now. Ntilikina's continued growth will play a large role in any success New York has in the future, so the more he plays, the better.

The Nets by the way have four ex-Knicks on the roster: De Andre Jordan, Wilson Chandler, Iman Shumpert and Henry Ellenson. Also, Nicolas Claxton was taken with the Knicks second round pick.

Player to watch: Julius Randle

As a free agent acquisition, you could do a lot worse than Julius Randle. Randle started to find his niche as a bullyball 4/5 that could lead a fastbreak when he signed a three year deal with the Knicks over the summer. The numbers aren't there yet and it made for an awkward fit with Mitchell Robinson, but Randle is a good player and he'll be fine long term.

Jarrett Allen will be wrestling with Randle on the boards. For Allen, the biggest thing for him is staying on the court for as long as possible. Too often he commits silly fouls which gets him saddled to the bench. Randle is getting to the foul line less than usual this year, but he still presents an interesting challenge to Allen.

From the Vault

I saw Mobb’s “Hell on Earth” turned 23 a few days ago, so let’s take a quick trip to Queensbridge

More reading: Posting and Toasting