Tonight at 7 p.m., the Nets and Knicks will play in round three of the “Battle of the Boroughs.” This will be the first time the new rivalry takes shape in Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks are 10-1.
The Nets are coming off another tough loss, losing 92-90 to the Utah Jazz Tuesday night. The Knicks are also coming off a loss at the hands of a familiar face, Jeremy Lin, and the Houston Rockets.
Carmelo Is a Game-Time Decision
Carmelo Anthony has missed the past two Knicks games nursing a sore left ankle that he suffered in a win last Thursday over the Lakers.
Anthony called himself a game-time decision for tonight’s game. He said he still felt pain Tuesday but would test it out again to today to see how he felt.
In two games against the Nets, Melo is averaging 40.0 points and 9.0 rebounds. Obviously, the Nets are hoping he does not play, but even so, the Knicks beat the Heat earlier this season without Melo.
Third Quarter Woes
It seems as though the Nets are always leading at halftime but then come out with no energy to start the third quarter. And the main problem has been turnovers.
Joe Johnson said that whenever the team has a big lead, they shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers. It’s a case of trying to do too much thinking that they have some wiggle room.
Avery Johnson said the team worked on protecting the basketball during Tuesday’s shoot-around, but how can a team practice playing better in the third quarter?
They can simulate “the third quarter” in practice, but it certainly is not the same as the heat of the moment. The Nets have blown too many third-quarter leads, and that’s why they are now hovering around .500.
Brook Lopez against the Knicks
Brook Lopez missed the last meeting between these teams, which the Knicks won 100-97.
In the first matchup, Lopez scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, helping the Nets battle to a 96-89 win at Barclays Center.
Lopez has been effective in his limited minutes since returning from the foot injury. He played extended minutes Tuesday night, so let’s see if coach Johnson gives him more playing time.
Lopez will have to play well for the Nets to win.
Containing Jason Kidd
When preparing to face the Knicks, opposing teams usually scheme against how to contain Melo and Tyson Chandler. However, former Net Jason Kidd has been rejuvenated this season.
He’s averaging 8.7 points and 3.9 assists per game this season, but his three-point shooting has been off the charts, shooting 47.5 percent from beyond the arch.
He drilled the game-winning three-pointer against the Nets last time, and it was one of six threes he made on the night. The Nets must be sure to contain their former star on the outside.
The action tips off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN and the YES Network.