Looking to build off a strong performance against the lowly Hawks, the Knicks enter Brooklyn to play the 0-1 Nets — what to watch for in Game 2.
Following an opening night 126-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the New York Knicks (1-0) look for their second win of the season in a crosstown matchup against the Brooklyn Nets (0-1).
The Knicks are coming off a dominant performance in their season debut at the Garden, one in which their offense came alive with a franchise-high 49 points in the second quarter alone. After a sloppy first quarter, the Knicks turned on the jets and showed no signs of slowing down. Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks in scoring with 31 points as Enes Kanter and Noah Vonleh both posted double-doubles. Transition offense was the name of the game, with the team showing newfound energy and speed on both ends of the floor. Which Knicks should we keep an eye out for in Game 2?
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Coming off a 31-point outing, all eyes are on Hardaway Jr. to see if he can replicate his performance from Wednesday night. With Kristaps Porzingis out for an extended period of time (potentially the entire season), THJ entered the season with the responsibility of being the Knicks’ go-to scoring option. After a 0-for-4 start from the field in game one, Timmy found his groove and showcased his scoring prowess from both beyond the arc and in the paint. Hardaway’s output and viability as a top-scoring option throughout the course of the season will be critical in determining his future with this team.
With a team-high 34 minutes on the night, Ntilikina’s Game 1 stat sheet might not jump out to a viewer at first glance. He posted five points (2-of-7 from the field), five rebounds, and three steals. Ntilikina continued to showcase his defensive excellence, and appeared more comfortable on offense, driving to the rack and taking open looks on multiple occasions.
As good as it is to see Frank look more comfortable on the court, the Knicks need to get more production out of him. With the exception of of Mitchell Robinson, who only played one minute of Wednesday night’s game due to injury, Ntilikina was the only player with a negative plus-minus rating of -2. Be on the lookout for Ntilikina’s minutes against the Brooklyn Nets, as it will be interesting to see how they fluctuate based on Wednesday’s performance.
In their first game of the season, the Nets fell to the Detroit Pistons by a final score of 103-100. It was a tight contest between two Eastern Conference foes who could end up duking it out for the final playoff spot. Defensively, the Nets struggled to hold down the paint, surrendering 24 points and a staggering 20 rebounds to Andre Drummond, plus 26 points and eight boards to Blake Griffin. Detroit grabbed a resounding 14 offensive rebounds. Offensively, the Nets were led by Caris LeVert, who dropped 27 points after averaging only 12.1 per contest last season. Spencer Dinwiddie finished second in scoring with 23 points, and Jarret Allen posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. Which Nets could end up providing the impetus for tonight’s game?
After dropping a team-high 27 points, obviously, LeVert will be watched heavily on Friday night. Was this a onetime performance? Or is LeVert ready to become a viable scoring option for the Brooklyn Nets? On a team where scoring is up for grabs, Caris has every opportunity to become coach Kenny Atkinson’s go-to guy.
The Point Guards
Spencer Dinwiddie had a strong performance, going 10-of-18 from the field for 23 points while also tacking on six assists. On the other hand, D’Angelo Russell struggled in his first game of the season, after fighting through an inconsistent and injury-riddled ’17-’18 campaign. Russell shot 3-of-9 from the field, posting eight points and five assists in 25 minutes of play. Who the Nets lean on to play point in a matchup against the Knicks is worth watching. Don’t be surprised to see Dinwiddie try and take over this game, as he looks to back up this summer’s talk.
— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) August 14, 2018
- Courtney Lee remains sidelined with neck strain that held him out of preseason play and kept him on the bench for opening night. He is listed as day-to-day, but there is speculation that the Knicks are looking to move him via trade.
- Emmanuel Mudiay missed opening night and is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury. He will be a game-time decision for Friday’s contest in Brooklyn.
- Mitchell Robinson (ankle) is expected to play Friday night, per NY Post‘s Marc Berman.
- Friday’s matchup marks the 192nd time the rivals have met (including both regular and postseason play). The Knicks hold a one-game edge with a 97-96 all-time record against the Nets, and look to extend this lead on Friday night.