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Nets host Knicks in final home game of 2019

Denver Nuggets v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Well I'll be damned. The Brooklyn Nets were on track for their worst loss of the season against the Atlanta Hawks, but a Christmas miracle happened. They dominated the fourth quarter and came away with a 10 point win on Saturday night to send the home fans happy. After this game, the Nets will ring in the New Year on the road.

The opponent tonight will be the New York Knicks. It's been another rough season for our crosstown neighbors as they try to figure out what direction they'll be going on in the future. Their latest losing streak is at three games after falling to the Washington Wizards at MSG on Monday night. It should be noted the Wizards were missing like ten dudes. Sheesh.

Where to follow the game

Double coverage tonight. YES Network and MSG on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM and ESPN 98.7 FM on radio. Originally, TNT was gonna have this game. But you know, things happen. Either way, tip off after 7:30 PM.


Kyrie Irving, Caris Levert, Kevin Durant, Nicolas Claxton and David Nwaba are out. LeVert appears to be the closest to return. KD and Nwaba are out for the season.

Reggie Bullock has yet to suit up for the Knicks and will not be doing so tonight. He’s been assigned to Westchester. Wayne Ellington didn't play on Monday and it's likely he misses this game as well. Marcus Morris and Taj Gibson are both questionable. Dennis Smith Jr. is out.

Real life

I'm back after taking some time off for Finals, amongst other things. If you've dealt with grad school or really just had life beat you up in any kind of way, you know that things can exhaust you in particular ways. I came across a great article by The Athletic's @nitzbluv, and this section in particular really stood out to me:

You could find your way in therapy. You could find your way through the right combination of antidepressants. You could find your way through writing. Or exercise. Or singing, or dancing, or painting. You could find it in the inexplicable fit within a new environment like I did

You could find a way to manage your demons in a million ways and I beg you —

Please —

Keep looking.

Sometimes making it to see another day is a victory in and of itself. Keep hanging in, y'all.

Now, the game...

Brooklyn won the first meeting in October and second one in November.

When we last saw our neighhors from Manahattan, they were being led by David Fizdale. The team wasn't making any progress and the losses were getting uglier by the day. Eventually, things reached a breaking point and Fiz got fired. It's one thing to be a bad team that stacks L's. It's another to be bad, stack L's, AND lose by 30+ every time.

Every time I see "Knicks coach Mike Miller," I think of this guy

2013 NBA Finals - Game Seven Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

(He's coaching with Penny Hardaway in Memphis by the way). I promise by the end of the year I'm gonna get the image of Knicks Mike Miller right in my head.

While I do that, the team will probably start siphoning off parts soon. Julius Randle and Dennis Smith, Jr. are two names that have been floated so far, but we're a long way away from the deadline.

Spencer Dinwiddie continues to work his magic. The lead guard carried Brooklyn to the win and was amazing in the fourth quarter. If the game is close, you can count on him to make the right plays to bring it home. RJ Barrett has been running the show for the Knicks and the rookie has had his fair share of bumps along the way. Barrett's shot isn't there yet, but that was to be expected as he wasn't setting the world on fire with his shot at Duke.

And here’s fun fact: If the Nets win Monday, they will tie the Knicks in the all-time head-to-head with with the Knicks. Both teams will have won 99 games. If you want to add in the playoffs, it will be tied at 104-104. And if you want to add the exhibition games between the two teams prior to the ABA-NBA merger, the Nets are already tied at 107.

Player to watch: Mitchell Robinson

One of the complicated things about the Randle signing was that he's most effective when he's playing center. That means Randle is in the way of the player the Knicks hope will be a foundational player going forward, Mitchell Robinson. Robinson has played well, but there are areas in which he can improve. For starters, he commits way too many fouls and that can ruin the flow of the game. Robinson is top ten in blocks, but the Knicks have the fourth worst opponent's field goal percentage on shots inside of six feet. Is there anything that can explain this? Over at Posting and Toasting, Knicks Nuance offers an idea:

Teams shoot worse when Mitch is on the floor because he contests everything he can, but the cost of having your 7-foot-1 alien hurling himself around the court chasing shooters is that your 7-foot-1 alien isn’t in position to grab the rebound when those shooters inevitably miss.

As he gets more experience, he'll master the art of defense.

I'm gonna go with "Brooklyn Heights" (shouts to ND user Flying Hawaiian for coming up with it) as the nickname for the Jarrett Allen x DeAndre Jordan duo today. Whatever we call them, they've been sensational for Kenny Atkinson. Jordan in particular has developed great chemistry with Dinwiddie and has completely overcome a slow start to the year. He and Allen have helped make the Nets one of the best rebounding teams in the league, which helps them control the pace of the game. Get it and go.

From the Vault

Santa Claus had a busy day yesterday, but he always manages to be everywhere.

More reading: Posting and Toasting