Today, Martin Luther King Day, marks the final of four matchups between the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. unless the playoff alignment Gods dictate it so, these two teams won't face off again this year. After the Nets took the first matchup on November 26th, New York responded with two victories: one a 100-97 squeaker that came down to the final play, the other a 100-86 laugher that was done by the third quarter.
In honor of tonight's final Clash of the Boroughs AKA the Battle for New York's Soul AKA Excuse for Spike Lee to Yell A Lot AKA a regular season NBA game, we at The Brooklyn Game have broken down each of tonight's positional matchups, the benches, and the coaches, just to get an idea of what to expect tonight.
Deron Williams vs. Jason Kidd
Joe Johnson vs. Iman Shumpert
Gerald Wallace vs. Carmelo Anthony
Reggie Evans vs. Amar'e Stoudemire
Brook Lopez vs. Tyson Chandler
Bench Mob vs. Knicks Bench
P.J. Carlesimo vs. Mike Woodson
As has been widely reported tonight, the controlling stake in the Sacramento Kings has been sold to a Seattle-based group for roughly $340 million, with plans to move the Kings to Seattle to reclaim the Seattle Supersonics.
According to a source connected to Peter Vecsey, should the deal go through, Phil Jackson will join the Sonics in a non-coaching role:
Source says almost living lock Phil Jackson will become front office face of Seattle-bound Kings' franchise. Won't coach. Will mentor choice
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) January 21, 2013
Phil Jackson is allegedly Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov's top target for head coach, and according to some reports would have contacted him after the season about his interest in the coaching job.
The sale to the Seattle-based group is not finalized, and Sacramento-based groups still have time to make a counter-offer to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
Via Ken Berger of CBS Sports:
"I think change is needed, top to bottom," Nets star Deron Williams told CBSSports.com on Friday night, becoming the league's first high-profile player to call for Hunter's ouster as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.
"I don't think things were getting voted on like they should have been," Williams said. "... I'm sure there's guys that are still with Billy, and some guys that aren't. We've just got to figure out what the next step is."
Hunter, 70, the union's executive director for 16 years, was the subject of a scathing, 469-page report released Thursday by an independent law firm. While the probe of the union's finances and business practices under Hunter's leadership stopped short of finding him criminally liable, it blasted him with a meticulous assault against what it characterized as questionable stewardship of union finances, failure to properly manage conflicts of interest -- which his hiring of and business relationships with family members created -- as well as a litany of acts that displayed poor judgment and served his personal interests above those of the union.
Most relevant to the union's future leadership, the law firm found that Hunter's 2010 contract extension -- worth as much as $18 million -- was not voted on by the board of 30 player representatives, in violation of the union's constitution and bylaws.
"That's what I mean about stuff not being voted on," Williams said.
The Brooklyn Nets practice court instagr.am/p/UpRXx4zH0g/
— Chris Nichols (@utahREpro) January 19, 2013
The nets gotta win
— ひOSS↯ひ!(@__OSOARROGANT) January 19, 2013
Brooklyn nets game, this new stadium is amazing
— Alex Hanby (@AlexHanby) January 19, 2013
Brooklyn Nets game! twitter.com/JonDanielEkh/s…
— Jon El Kordi-Hubbard (@JonDanielEkh) January 19, 2013
Brooklyn nets game twitter.com/sarahmariehigg…
— sarah marie higgins (@sarahmariehiggi) January 19, 2013
— Ryan Ruocco (@RyanRuocco) January 19, 2013
The NBA All-Star reserves, voted by the Eastern Conference coaches, will be announced on Thursday, and Nets interim
-esque coach P.J. Carlesimo thinks the Nets deserve three spots off the bench.
"They're all worthy of being All-Stars," Carlesimo said of Nets stars Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams after last night's game. "It's in the coaches' hands now, so I feel good about that. There's 15 teams in our conference. So we'll see what happens. The only good news is if they don't make it, they'll get some rest."
Carlesimo, who cannot vote for his own players via NBA rules, had especially high praise for Lopez. "He's playing as well as any center in the league. I don't know another center that's playing better than him."
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Facing the team that decimated them, destroyed them, combusted them, and all other words that loosely mean "holy crap, Atlanta beat the snot out of Brooklyn Wednesday night" them, the Brooklyn Nets made up for lost possessions Friday night, taking down the Atlanta Hawks in a game marred by ugliness and inconsistency at Barclays Center AKA The Black House in Brooklyn. The Nets got key contributions down the stretch from Brook Lopez and Deron Williams -- Lopez with seven fourth-quarter points and a key block after getting posterized by Brook Lopez that essentially sealed the game, and Williams with four free throws in the final minute to extend a 90-89 lead to the eventual final score of 94-89.
In a game that was tied at the end of each for the first three quarters, Brooklyn relied on contributions from multiple key players, contributions that went beyond scoring.
Yes, a cursory look at the box score -- and Deron Williams' first-half shooting numbers -- would indicate that this was a game led by Brooklyn's "Big Three" of Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. To some degree, that's true; the three-man tandem combined for 62 of Brooklyn's 90 points, six of their nine three-pointers, with only one other player -- backup center Andray Blatche -- touching double digits in the scoring margins.
But to pin this victory on three players misses the full picture... MORE →
Got out to a red-hot start, picking up ten points in the first four minutes, hitting his first four shots, notching 20 by the third quarter. Showed some clear, fair frustration with the officiating in the third quarter. Struggled to create his own shot in the fourth, but hit four big free throws with under a minute left to seal the victory.
Tried to get him involved early, didn't really work. Played him in a more comfortable role as the game progressed as a spot-up shooter, and later as a post-up player, and he got some quick, quiet buckets as a result.
If he's at 100%, his production doesn't support it. Worth noting that in the final few minutes, Wallace sat in favor of Keith Bogans.
Got a quick hook in his first stint after two dubious calls -- the first a charge that Ivan Johnson
flopped for "drew", the second a tough call after Johnson barreled his elbows into Humphries and somehow got an and-one out of it.
The Nets barely looked to get him involved in the first half, so hard to judge his offensive output. Posted up on the first play of the second half and hit a fadeaway, then shortly after got a nice feed from Deron Williams for two more. Posterizing from Josh Smith aside, Lopez got a huge block late and snuck his way to another 20-point outing.
Did a great job spelling Brook Lopez in the second quarter and continued to play somewhat effectively throughout the game. One criticism: of all the Nets big men, he is the worst screener.
Got nailed while screening for Brook Lopez, hit the floor, and weirdly, because he hit the floor, the man he screened couldn't get around him in time, and Lopez had an easy hook shot. He does all he can do -- hits corner threes, layups, use his body, and plays defense -- and not a microunit more. That's why he plays best with the starters.
*blink* 20 rebounds for Reggie Evans.
Grade the Game at any time!
Tonight: The 22-16 Atlanta Hawks travel to Brooklyn to take on the 23-16 Brooklyn Nets, at 7:30 P.M. EST, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Hawks had lost six of their last seven games before blowing out the Nets 109-95 despite missing star forward Josh Smith. The Nets had been 9-1 in the P.J. Carlesimo era before Wednesday night's loss.
Watch & Listen: Tonight's game is broadcast on YES Network. Ryan Ruocco and Greg Anthony are on the call. The game is radio broadcast on WFAN Radio, and simulcast in Spanish on WADO.
Out: Nobody for Brooklyn. (I know!) Tornike Shengelia and Jerry Stackhouse are inactive. For Atlanta, former Nets guard Anthony Morrow did not make the trip with the Hawks. Josh Smith, who sat out after a one-game team suspension, will play. UPDATE: The Hawks announce that Al Horford will not start tonight's game. Horford has been fighting hamstring issues. Zaza Pachulia, who nearly put up a triple-double (13 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) on Wednesday night vs. Brooklyn, will start in his place.
More info after the jump... MORE →