Nets-Knicks: Pregame Primer

Grade the players at any time!

Game Info: The New York Knicks (15-5) take on the Brooklyn Nets (11-8) tonight at 7:00 P.M. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The game will be televised on YES Network and nationally on ESPN. Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel have the call on YES. WFAN has the radio call, WADO has the Spanish radio call.

OUT: Brook Lopez for the Nets. Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, Marcus Camby for the Knicks.

Last time: The Nets beat the Knicks 96-89 in overtime at Barclays Center on November 26th. The Knicks were without Jason Kidd, the Nets were with Brook Lopez, who led the Nets with 22 points in their last meeting.

Starters:
Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Andray Blatche
Knicks: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony, Ronnie Brewer, Tyson Chandler

Advanced Stats:
Brooklyn Nets (league rank): 103.7 offensive rating (9th), 103.2 defensive rating (18th), 91.25 possessions per game (29th)
New York Knicks (league rank): 110.1 offensive rating (2nd), 101.1 defensive rating (13th), 93.26 possessions per game (26th)

Three things to watch:

 
1) Perimeter defense. The Knicks boast one of the finest perimeter attacks in the NBA — as a whole, the team shoots 40.5% from beyond the arc, led by Jason Kidd (50.8%), Carmelo Anthony (43%), Steve Novak (42.7%), and Raymond Felton (40.7%). The Nets give up the fewest three-pointers and three-point attempts in the league, and the Knicks have similarly made an attempted the most three-pointers in the league. Whichever team wins the perimeter battle will have a huge leg up.

2) Blatchelyn. Andray Blatche is filling in once again for the injured Brook Lopez, meaning that Avery Johnson will have to scramble to fill odd holes in his lineup again. Tyson Chandler went to town on Lopez (and everyone else) the last time these two teams played. Can Blatche (I can’t believe I’m saying this) contain Chandler to some degree on the offensive end, and keep Chandler off-balance with his diverse offensive game?

3) The crowd. The Nets had a real home crowd for the first game of this series, with a significant pro-Brooklyn advantage in the stands. Now that the heat’s died down a little bit, and Lopez is out, and the Nets are in a bit of a funk… it’s hard to tell what kind of crowd we’ll see tonight. Keep an ear out to see if the Melo M-V-P chants get drowned out by boos again.