The Brooklyn Nets have struggled since Kevin Durant went down with an MCL injury earlier this month, with the most brutal of losses coming on Thursday when they (somehow) lost to the Pistons at home.
Meanwhile, the Knicks are just 3 games behind the Nets and closing in on them in the Eastern Conference standings, which makes Saturday’s matchup even more important.
There’s not a ton of reason to feel optimistic about the Nets chances this evening except for, well, this:
Reminder:— Will (@WillNetsFan) January 28, 2023
• Nets have not lost to the Knicks since before the pandemic (8 straight)
• Kyrie has not lost to the Knicks since joining the Nets
• Ben Simmons is 15-0 against the Knicks in his career
That’s something, right?
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (29-19) vs. New York Knicks (27-23)
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. est
WHERE: ABC (national tv), WFAN-FM & ESPNR (radio)
The Nets are a really bad rebounding team. The Knicks are a really good rebounding team. This may turn out to be ugly if the Nets aren’t diligent on the boards ... or are missing critical players.
This battle of New York also doubles as a battle of New Jersey. New Brunswick’s own, Jalen Brunson, has been terrific for the Knicks and is a strong contender to make the All-Star Game. JB is averaging career highs in points (22.4) and assists (6.3) on a .468/.402/.844 triple slash all while turning it over at a career low rate. Having a point guard that can score efficiently, run the offense well, take over late, and help you make the most out of every possession is such a blessing.
West Orange’s own will look to put together another banner showing. On the day he was announced as an All Star starter, Kyrie Irving was excellent once again as he poured in 40 points against a Pistons defense that was hellbent on slowing him down. He “only” had six assists, but would’ve gotten a lot more if his teammates cashed in open looks from deep. We ask a lot out of Irving, and rightfully so. He’s a mesmerizing player when he’s firing on all cylinders, and without Durant, has fought to keep the team competitive and locked in. It’s a lot to carry on his shoulders, but he’s stepped up to try and fill the void left by KD’s absence. It’s a great sign for Irving, the Nets, and most importantly, Nets fans.
For more on the Knicks check out Posting and Toasting.