The Brooklyn Nets play their final preseason game tonight, playing it against their cross-borough rival, the New York/Manhattan Knicks. The teams are playing in the one stadium dinky enough to accomodate a pseudo-rivalry fit for a preseason game: Nassau Coliseum,
prison for the New York Islanders where the New York Islanders will play their games until 2015, upon which time they move to Brooklyn and join the Nets in Barclays Center.
The Nets will start their usual five. The Knicks will start Raymond Felton, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony, Kurt Thomas, and Tyson Chandler. Thomas is 40 years old and prevents the Knicks from starting Anthony at power forward, where he posted a 29.5 PER last year. So hopefully this is indicative!
The Nets played in Nassau Coliseum once upon a time, before they ever moved to New Jersey, and accordingly will wear their white ABA jerseys for tonight's game. Keith Bogans and Jerry Stackhouse are out.
In honor of tonight's final ultimately meaningless game before the meaningful ones begin in one week, here are three things to watch for when you're watching -- whether that's on MSG or in the arena.
1) Pick-and-roll defense. Pregame, Coach Avery Johnson stressed the importance of improving on the team's shoddy pick-and-roll defense, saying that it had looked better in recent practices and the team was still figuring out its coverages and communication. The Nets will likely see 60 to 70 pick and rolls tonight, and the Nets should use tonight's game as added practice for their system. Johnson also said the team needed to show improvement defending in transition.
2) MarShon's minutes. It appears MarShon Brooks has solidified and will further solidify his spot in the rotation his evening. Coach Johnson also noted that tonight is an opportunity for MarShon Brooks to get his first significant minutes in the rotation, and that would be true regardless of Bogans' and Stackhouse's availability. That would seem to indicate that Brooks is the #2 2; a solid night scoring and defending would further cement his spot.
3) The crowd & arena. Johnson also has no expectations for tonight's crowd. As mentioned, the game is in Nassau Coliseum, which makes the Izod Center look like the Barclays Center. The arena is a transplant directly from 1975, if people in 1975 presumed that foreclosed museums designed for alien landings made for solid sports backdrops. It's got character.
Enjoy the game!