After a long detour across the West Coast, the Knicks are back home and welcome crosstown rivals Brooklyn Nets.
The New York Knicks (22–28), coming off a big win in Phoenix on Friday, will face the Brooklyn Nets (18–32) at the Garden on Tuesday night. Following their massive 22 point victory against the Suns, in which they took advantage of the worst defense in the league, the Knicks are looking to pick up a winning streak for the first time since December 16.
Brooklyn, who have lost seven of their last ten, are currently owners of the seventh worst record in the NBA. The Nets are ranked 23rd in the league in both defense and offense, a marker of how they’ve been unable to escape mediocrity all season, much like the maligned Knicks, too.
As for New York, they’ve dropped to the 10th spot in the East and are now 3.5 games out of a playoff spot. With the postseason looking out of reach, the front office will have to make some decisions regarding the roster and determine whether the team will be buyers or sellers by the trade deadline. If things don’t turn around soon for the Knicks, then it’s only inevitable that Scott Perry and Steve Mills look to make some moves to bring in a few assets in return for veterans that would be better suited playing for a winner.
Let’s take a look at a few notes on tonight’s game:
- Joakim Noah will be out again (personal reasons). He hasn’t played since he reportedly had an altercation with Coach Hornacek.
- Brooklyn’s leading scorer, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (strained groin), is doubtful for tonight’s game.
- The Knicks haven’t had much trouble with the Nets this season, having bested them three times already. A win tonight would complete New York’s season sweep of Brooklyn.
- Since his return from injury, Tim Hardaway Jr. has proved to be a difference maker whenever he’s on the floor. His ability to create a shot and heat up quickly is crucial for the Knickerbocker offense, which looked flat-out weak without Timmy.
- One of Brookyln’s bright spots this season has been Spencer Dinwiddie, who is averaging 13.1 points and 6.4 assists per game in what’s been a bit of a breakout season for the fourth-year guard. If Hollis-Jefferson is out, look for him to carry more of the scoring load for the Nets tonight, a tough task for New York’s point guard depth of Jarrett Jack, Frank Ntilikina, and now Trey Burke.