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
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.
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The city is under new management.
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) November 27, 2012
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- In the Battle for New York AKA the Battle of the Boroughs AKA the Clash of the Boroughs AKA The Thirteenth Game Of The Season AKA The Championship To Win Everything Ever In The History Of Ever, the Brooklyn Nets took down the New York/Manhattan Knicks in overtime at The Black House, 96-89. The victory tied the Brooklyn Nets with the Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division, and the victory gives them a step up (though no guarantee) in any eventual tiebreaker.
Coming into the game, it was hard to gauge the makeup of the off-court constituents: would it be an even split? Would Manhattan keep on takin' it? An early survey of mine indicated that there was enough orange and blue to give me pause, but that fear went out the window as soon as PA Announcer David Diamante bellowed in a muted undertone "...and now, the starting lineup for the New York Knicks," and the crowd roared in unison.
And that was that.
There were some scattered Knicks fans, assuredly. Eight different beat writers will give you eight different percentage estimates, and none of us took exit polls. But Brooklyn was in The Black House. Suffice it to say that there was a contingent loud enough to be heard in important moments, but not so loud that they ran the arena. When Carmelo Anthony was at the free throw line and they dare chanted "M-V-P," the boos from Brooklyn rebutted so loudly that the letters faded into obscurity. The Brooklyn Chant continued to roar as its loudest and proudest, and didn't pale in comparison to previous games at its highest decibel.
As a longtime Nets fan, as someone who grew up in New Jersey and went to his fair share of Nets-Knicks games, I knew this would be different. Games in New Jersey always felt like Knicks home games, and this game *probably* wouldn't have the same absolute slant. It was certainly going to be different, but moving even closer to Manhattan gave it an added slant of worry. And yet last night's crowd still held a surreal buzz, one I tried to expect and just couldn't. For new Brooklyn Nets fans, last night was an absolute success, for at least one old New Jersey Nets fan, it was an experience in refreshment, and a solidified belief that Brooklyn fans could be the trained zombie root-root-root-for-the-home-teamers the Nets have always wanted.
What's that? Oh, there was basketball, too. Sorry. Almost forgot.
Deron Williams, who admitted after the game he's shooting poorly these days (6-17 tonight), was bested in the scoring poverty department by matchup Raymond Felton, who missed sixteen of nineteen shots en route to embarrassment. Brook Lopez scored as you'd expect -- on open dumpdowns -- and in harder times in the post on Tyson Chandler. Lopez also blocked five shots, and pulled together an efficient double-double. Gerald Wallace was everything you hope Gerald Wallace can be -- the hounding defensive presence without falling for fakes and the sneaky offensive player who hits the occasional open shot and finishes around the basket.The defense looked as on point as it's been all season, particularly in the second half; the Knicks, leading the NBA in three-pointers made, three-pointers made per game, and second in three-point percentage, shot a paltry 6-21 from beyond the arc and 0-6 with Reggie Evans in the game. On the other end, the Nets took full advantage of the Knicks' defensive strategy to switch on every conceivable screen and set up easy mismatches for Johnson and Williams to take advantage of.
Late in a close game, the still-adjusting Brooklyn Nets struck a surprising balance between overdrawing play designs (which they rarely do) and relying solely on isolating one of their offensive options (which they often do). The team played confident late-game minutes, trusting in their stars and role players to deliver. If Deron Williams drew a double team, Jerry Stackhouse was waiting in the corner. If Joe Johnson missed, Reggie Evans was in the mix to fight for the offensive rebound. It was a team effort, like some of the efforts we've seen recently, but certainly a promising one under pressured circumstances.
It wasn't just the five on the floor that put in work. With roughly four minutes remaining in regulation and the Nets up three, with the Brooklyn-born Carmelo Anthony looking to concoct a victory out of thin isolation, the chant, the Brooklyn chant, which had sing-songed on multiple occasions during the evening, chorused through the arena once again. Anthony dribbled the ball astray, the Nets recovered, and trailing loper Brook Lopez finished an easy transition dunk.
Stackhouse talked about the team's "sixth man," but wasn't talking about himself or any of his teammates. "I thought it was a Brooklyn crowd, and that gave us a lot of energy down the stretch," Stackhouse said after the game. Avery Johnson added that "this is what we've been dreaming about since I've been here." Whether or not that's true in some esoteric definition of crowd input and effect, it was hard to ignore. The crowd loudly chanted M-V-P for Deron Williams in waning moments, and unlike the similar chants for Anthony, there was no cold water in the Manhattan tank to drown it out.
(Note: Stackhouse, noted inventor of palindromes, continues his absurd plus-minus tear. He finished the game with a team-leading +13 in 22 minutes, scoring 14 points of his own on four threes and two late-overtime free throws that helped ice the final score.)
That isn't to say the game came rosily. The Brooklyn Nets trailed at the half, thanks mostly to Carmelo Anthony making a lot of shots. That's what he does. Tyson Chandler decimated the Nets front line with an early putback dunk over both starters that made me remember just how big and athletic Tyson Chandler is. Chandler scored at will inside without having to create his own looks. Joe Johnson fell back into the struggle, shooting just 3-12 from the field and not playing a significant role in any facet or stretch of the game. Shortly after Lopez's fourth-quarter transition dunk, Lopez pulled down his tenth rebound with a five-point lead, only to let Raymond Felton poke the ball out of his grasp. The ball ended up in Carmelo Anthony's waiting, wide open hands, and Anthony drained a three to make it a two-point game. Two minutes later, the Knicks held a three-point lead. Just like that.
But when the dust settled, when the final buzzer sounded after four Jerry Stackhouse three-pointers and 14 Reggie Evans rebounds and 14 Deron Williams assists (matching the Knicks team total) and 22 Brook Lopez points and all other contributions, Brooklyn won. The Brooklyn Nets won. After all the buzz, the hype, the excitement, the two teams played 53 minutes of basketball, and one emerged victorious. It was Brooklyn.
See you Wednesday in Boston.
As you may or may not have heard because it's been obscured by the 30th birthday of international sensation OJ Da Juiceman, the New York/Manhattan Knicks come to Brooklyn this evening to take on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. This is the first official game between these two teams, rescheduled from November 1st in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Here's an analysis of the Nets offense versus the Knicks defense, and how the game might develop on that end.
By the Numbers:
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There's an old cliché', often repeated by politicians and friends trawling for Facebook likes, that "you don't find yourself, you create yourself." Banality aside, I actually kind of like it: while you're searching for some original, long-standing pillar that defines you, you're defining who you are by what you do day in and day out.
I'd bet that if you ask Tyson Chandler about this quote, he'd agree: He hasn't found a rivalry yet between these two teams, it has to be created. Speaking with Harvey Araton of the New York Times, Tyson Chandler made clear that he does not believe the Brooklyn Nets-New York Knicks' ... let's call it "borough kerfuffle" is a full-on rivalry yet.
“No disrespect to them, it’s not a rivalry, not yet,” Chandler said. “Two teams have to go through some big things.” The two teams, originally scheduled to kick off the season last night, have had their first matchup rescheduled for Thanksgiving weekend on November 26th.
Brett Yormark might counter with: "If you find yourself lost in the woods... f--- it. Build a house. Well, I was lost, now I live here. I have severely improved my predicament."
- Andray Blatche, livin' the life.
- The NBA news of the day: The Oklahoma City Thunder trade James Harden, along with Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward and Daequan Cook, to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks (one guaranteed lottery) and one second-round pick. The Thunder chose to trade Harden rather than give him a max contract, amounting roughly to a $1 million difference per year between sides before the luxury tax.
- Denis Hamill, writing at the Daily News, calls Barclays Center The House that Bruce Built. My take: Ratner may have conceived the plan, but without Mikhail Prokhorov's bailout and Jay-Z's cultural influence, this building plops in the middle of Brooklyn with more controversy than fanfare. Also, The Black House is a better name.
- Andray Blatche responds to taunts from the Knicks bench in the final preseason game: "They’re wasting their energy. I don’t know (Shumpert). He wasn’t playing, so he had to do something. You sitting on the bench with a suit on you have to do something.”
- Knicks center Tyson Chandler has a "very good chance" of playing opening night.
- Is Raymond Felton an upgrade over Jeremy Lin? One all-star point guard thinks so. Also, a friendly reminder.
New York is embarking on a unique season of basketball. Never have their been two professional teams, teams that actually play in this city (sorry, football), on this grand a stage and at this close a talent level, jockeying for city pole position. In honor of that recently renewed, borough-created rivalry between the Brooklyn Nets and the
Jared and I share an innate, obsessive fandom for our respective teams. So we have to talk this out... MORE →
In the Brooklyn Nets' final ultimately meaningless game, played in a building that was architecturally ancient on building day, the Nets took yet another preseason game to overtime. The final call in both final frames ended in failure, as MarShon Brooks flailed towards the basket with no avail as the clock ran down. Brooks foolishly expected a referee, playing a meaningless game in Hempstead, N.Y., to give these respective reserves a chance to play even more mediocre preseason basketball.
For those of you anguished by this final preseason loss, do yourself and your psyche a solid and take no inference from the crunch-time play in this contest for one reason and one reason alone. The Nets did not play a starter for the final 11:43 of the game. MarShon Brooks, for all his glory, will never take that last-second shot in a meaningful game with this roster. The supposition that he will is predicated on the idea that, even in the unlikely event that he is in the game with the Nets' current wealth of offensive talent, the playcall would be "MarShon Brooks iso." Brooks, for all his scoring talent, is fighting for a reserve spot on a roster with an entrenched starting lineup. There are at least seven players at this point more likely to see the floor in crunch time. If Coach Johnson does fall into the folly of pushing late-game isolations -- he did say that he "liked the shot" -- MarShon will not be the go-to scorer.
Despite the final score, some additional scattered thoughts:
- Avery Johnson said before the game that two of his major keys were the team's pick-and-roll and transition defense. Transition defense seemed to work: the Knicks got zero fast-break points all game (though there was one stretch in the second quarter where Ronnie Brewer plucked the ball from MarShon Brooks' fingers and got a layup on the break). The pick-and-roll defense (without checking the numbers) seemed much stronger when the starters were on the floor, but fell apart once the reserves came in.
- Nassau Coliseum is not a basketball arena. Aside from clocking in at roughly seven degrees, the arena's built into the ground in the middle of a parking lot miles from a metropolis. From the outside, it resembles a museum dedicated to alien landings that hasn't been open on thirty years. It's not difficult to understand why the Islanders are moving to Brooklyn.
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In a game that the Brooklyn Nets did not play their starters in crunch time, where Tyson Chandler left the game after the first 44 seconds, the bench mob led the team back from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit, but a failed MarShon Brooks isolation late led to the two most exciting words in sports: PRESEASON OVERTIME! In an overtime where neither team played a starter for a single second, the Nets fought to the wire, losing on a missed MarShon Brooks contested layup (another isolation).
As is preseason standard, here is your powered-down Net Worth.
Deron Williams: Came out firing -- hit three threes and scored 12 total in the first quarter Looked very good -- at times out of control but matched Felton's burgeoning intensity. Grade: A
Joe Johnson: Quiet, efficient night. Had some fun early action playing off Deron Williams as they ran screen plays for one another, and bullied his way in the post when he had the matchup advantage (which he should have often next Thursday). Grade: B
Gerald Wallace: If you were perhaps in the mood to judge Nets players on the loosely defined intangible quality of giving a crap for every conceivable second, chances are you'd take Gerald Wallace first and not a soul would blame you. He runs, bumps, cuts, dives, jumps, and scrapes. He boards, passes, and controls anarchy. Didn't have the best shooting night, but impossible to complain about his effort. Grade: A-
Kris Humphries: Played more into his role offensively tonight -- didn't force the issue, just caught passes for easy shots. Still a non-factor defensively. Grade: B-
Brook Lopez: Looked better defensively than in any game in preseason, in that he looked average. Contested an awful lot of shots and forced more floaters and off-balance j's than layups. Didn't really score much, though he did nail two quick shots on two possessions at the beginning of the third quarter. Only one rebound, so there's... that... thing. Grade: C+
Tyshawn Taylor: Great shooting in the fourth quarter, but lost the touch late in overtime. Can't really fault him for that. Can't hurt to have a backup hitting jumpers off curl screens. Grade: B+
MarShon Brooks: Only really useful when he's scoring, and until the end, he didn't really score. He's developed an oddball tendency to try to create too much off the dribble -- so much that he'll (dare I say it) pump-fake out of open shots and dribble into contested ones. He's Mirza Teletovic's antithesis in that sense, as Mirza would bring another basketball onto the court just so he can shoot two at the same time. Worth noting that he did hit two big shots late -- a putback, and more importantly, a fast break lean-sprawl and-one layup to put the Nets up 2 with a minute left. But in the aggregate, he's had better nights. Grade: D
Andray Blatche: The ultimate Andray Blatche sequence: He threw a hook shot off the side of the backboard, then followed it up with a steal and a tight spin cycle off the dribble, passing into a foul. The Andray Blatche Experience, in a nutshell. Attacked the glass, but didn't shoot well and didn't defend well enough to offset that difference. Grade: C-