Time: 7:30 p.m.
Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports GO
Location: Madison Square Garden
Listen: WFAN 101.9, 660 AM
The Brooklyn Nets have not fared well against their crosstown rival New York Knicks this season. They have lost all three meetings, and none of them were pretty. The Nets lost by 21 points in the first meeting, followed up by a seven-point loss in which Kristaps Porzingis did not play in the second half and most recently lost by 15 a little over two weeks ago.
The Knicks won these games by taking advantage of their size in each contest. New York had a plus-20 rebound advantage over Brooklyn in the first contest and did most of its damage from inside of the arc.
Recently, though, the Nets have used defensive schemes to encourage mid-range jumpers rather than getting beaten in the paint. While the Nets limited the Knicks’ points in the paint in their most recent matchup, they still struggled to defend the three. The Knicks shot twice the number of threes than the Nets did and used the momentum of those shots to put Brooklyn away in the fourth quarter. New York is not the most talented team, but it is a matchup nightmare for the Brooklyn Nets.
Another issue for the Nets in this matchup has been fourth-quarter scoring. Brooklyn has been outscored 84-67 in the fourth quarter in the series with the Knicks this season, and if the team wants to come away with a victory, that has to be fixed.
Other than the first game, the Nets have hung around for the first three quarters but then fell apart in the last frame. The Knicks have had their struggles in the fourth quarter as well, so it is up to the Nets to expose that weakness. If Kenny Atkinson can harp on the execution late in games, then this can be a victory for Brooklyn.
Here are three things to watch for:
Add Trey Burke to the list of Michigan players that will hit the floor on Tuesday night. Caris LeVert, Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Burke all spent time representing the Wolverines, but only one pair can come away from this game victorious.
Burke has looked like the go-to point guard for Jeff Hornacek in the last two games. He posted an 18-point, 11-assist double-double against Denver on Jan. 26 and followed that up with another 18 points in 18 minutes against the Phoenix Suns. With his increased level of play and lack of production from Knicks point guards, expect Burke to be a focal point.
Jarrett Allen is starting to hit midseason form with three straight double-digit scoring games, understanding the positioning required to play in Atkinson’s system. He has been looming around the basket and is on the receiving end of dump passes and lobs. He is also rebounding at a nice clip, posting a double-double within those three games.
Allen is far from a finished product, but Nets fans are starting to see the type of player he is going to be down the line.
Jahlil Okafor is coming off his best performance as Brooklyn Net, posting 21 points and six rebounds against fellow draftmate Karl-Anthony Towns on Jan. 27. He showed off his great touch around the basket and got his shots up quickly.
What the Nets saw in that game was definitely encouraging, but time will tell if he can build on it and start earning more minutes in the rotation.