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Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks preview: Nets come home to face rivals

The Nets come home reeling and trying to save their season. The Knicks will look to make things tougher on their crosstown rivals at Barclays

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It was going well... until it wasn’t. The Brooklyn Nets were on their way to an excellent victory against the Los Angeles Clippers, but they let go of the rope in an especially disastrous way. The Clips went on a 22-0 run to end the game and hand the Nets a catastrophic loss on Sunday afternoon. Just when you think they’re turning a corner, they get superkicked back to reality.

The New York Knicks have been looking pretty darn great as of late. They kept the good times rolling after dominating the Toronto Raptors at MSG on Saturday night.

Where to follow the game

TNT on TV. WFAN and ESPN 98.7 FM on the radio. Tip after 7:30 PM. No YES, No MSG.


No Ben Simmons, Dariq Whitehead, or Day’Ron Sharpe. Jacque Vaughn promised an update on Simmons and Sharpe on the Nets return to Brooklyn. Both are believed to be close.

No Mitchell Robinson. Isaiah Hartenstein is dealing with left Achilles tendinopathy. He’s questionable.

The game

The Knicks won the first meeting.

What a way to come into rivalry week. The Nets are spiraling downwards and the Knicks are trending upwards and have a great chance to earn homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. And we all know how loud Knicks fans are, as Julius Randle helpfully alluded to:

Buckle up.

Jalen Brunson has been slightly bothered by an ankle injury, and it’s affected his shooting numbers as our pal Candace Pedraza of The Knicks Wall pointed out

Even a JB not operating at full strength is one of the best players in the NBA and a well deserved All-Star nomination.

The Nets’ Villanova star will need to get the team back on track in a hurry. Mikal Bridges observed that the team couldn’t adjust and adapt to the Clippers’ strategy during that fateful 22-0 run. Although the Nets got some open looks, they couldn’t figure anything out and looked like a team out of sorts and out of time. Bridges has increased his three point frequency, and he’s going to have to give the team a consistent 20+ points every night going forward. He and Cam Thomas are the two best weapons the team has on offense, and one of them will have to be on the court at all times if the Nets want to have anything resembling a functioning offense.

With the Knicks frontcourt banged up, we’ll see how Tom Thibodeau utilizes Julius Randle. Randle is a battering ram on the inside and is coming off of a triple double on Saturday night. Randle can be a bit turnover prone, and that’s something Nic Claxton and the Nets will try to take advantage of. Like most of the Nets, Claxton couldn’t get the offense going late when they were in a bind.

The Nets still retain a slight advantage in the overall rivalry, having won 107 of the 211 games played between the two teams since the ABA-NBA merger (and a 3-2 mark in the five exhibition games played before the leagues got together.) In the 10 post-season games played between the two teams, the score is even: 5-5.

Player to watch: OG Anunoby

When you get something new, you always use it a bunch. When I get a new game or bump a new album, I’m spinning it over and over and over again. If you like it and it’s good, why not right? That’s probably the logic Tom Thibodeau is using with his new small forward. Since his debut on New Year’s Day, Anunoby leads the team in minutes (eighth overall in the NBA) at 36.7 a night. It hasn’t bothered him at all as he’s averaging around 15 points and five rebounds a night on .513/.408/.923 shooting splits. OG is a Thibs guy, as Russell Richardson of Posting and Toasting observed:

OG (short for Ogugua) is the sort of indestructible player who brings a tear to the eye of Tom Thibodeau—or any coach worth his salt, frankly. The big wing provides a strong frame, tough defense, reliable shooting, and durability. For proof on the latter, check out his minutes. He’s averaged 36.7 minutes per game as a Knick, with three 43+ minute performances last week, including back-to-back tilts.

That kind of load is not new to OG and it demonstrates his elite conditioning. After the game against the Wizards, the man of few words said, “In Toronto, I played like 58 minutes one game—I’ve played a lot of minutes before, I’m used to this.

If you like something, keep it rolling!

Cam Johnson had himself a rough Sunday afternoon. CJ only went 3-11 from the field in 29 minutes and was targeted relentlessly by Kawhi Leonard during the game’s final moments

Can’t live like that. Simply put, the Nets need more from Johnson if they want to get out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves. If not, get ready to learn trade machine buddy.

From the Vault

Dolly Parton turned 78 years old on Friday, and celebrated the occasion by releasing an album of covers! One of the songs she covered was The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

And this is a perfect time to pull up the original, which is an all timer of epic proportions

More reading: Posting & Toasting, SB Nation NBA, Nets Republic, The Knicks Wall, The Strickland