Record: The New York Knicks are 42-26, the Brooklyn Nets are 41-29, 1.5 games back in the Atlantic Division.
Remaining schedule: The Nets are midway through their Circus Trip, an eight-game, 17-day road trip while Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey take over Barclays Center.
The Nets have five home games and seven away games remaining, with five games against above-.500 competition. The Knicks have an even split — seven road games and seven home games — but have a much tougher schedule; 10 of their 14 games come against above-.500 competition, including games against the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and two against the Atlanta Hawks.
One odd scheduling quirk: the rest of the Nets schedule comes in spurts: the last four games of this road trip, followed by a three-game homestand, followed by a three-game road trip, followed by two final games at home. The Knicks have a much more balanced back-and-forth schedule: one three-game homestand and the rest are spurts of one or two games at home or on the road.
Efficiency: According to NBA.com, the Nets score 104.3 points per 100 possessions, 9th in the NBA, and allow 103.4 points per 100 possessions, 17th in the NBA. The Knicks score 107.5 points per 100 possessions, 3rd in the NBA, and allow 103.1 points per 100 possessions, 15th in the NBA.
Since P.J. Carlesimo took the coaching reins from Avery Johnson, the Nets have scored 105.2 points per 100 possessions, 9th in the NBA in that time, and have allowed 103.0 points per 100 possessions, 11th in the NBA in that time. The Knicks have scored 106.2 points per 100 possessions, 7th in the NBA in that time, and have allowed 103.7 points per 100 possessions, 15th in the NBA during that time.
The Four Factors: The Nets get to the line more frequently (.299 free throws per field goal attempt) and grab more offensive rebounds (31.2% of all available). The Knicks turn the ball over less (14.5% of possessions) and shoot better from the floor (50.2% to 50%).
Statistical oddity: Here’s something interesting: since P.J. Carlesimo took over, the Nets have shot better from the floor (45.0% to 43.8%) than the Knicks, and better from 3 (37.0% to 35.2%), yet the Knicks have a slightly better effective field goal percentage (50.2% to 50%). How is this possible?
Volume. The Knicks may shoot worse from three, but a much higher percentage of their shots come from three-point range. The Knicks shoot an average of seven more three-pointers per game than the Nets, meaning that they hit 2.4 more three-pointers per game, even as they shoot a lower percentage. A 35.2% three-point percentage is equivalent to a 52.8% two-point percentage, so a high percentage of Knicks shots — even if they’re shooting worse from the field — help bolster their efficiency. Adds credence to the idea: if you want to be successful in the NBA, shoot more threes — even if you don’t shoot them at a particularly good clip.