Just How Bad Is This Nets-Knicks Matchup?
Numbers Through History

Carmelo Anthony Nets Knicks
How bad is it? This bad. (AP)
Carmelo Anthony Nets Knicks
How bad is it? This bad. (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks face off tonight in what’s widely considered the worst Nets-Knicks game of all time. Just how bad is it? Here’s some facts we found on tonight’s matchup.

  • Believe it or not, this is not the worst Nets-Knicks matchup of all time. Though the Nets and Knicks combined have a putrid 8-26 (.235) record, the teams actually faced off as worse rivals on March 6, 2010, when the 6-55 Nets took on the 21-40 Knicks. That combined record of 27-95 (.221) is the worst in the rivalry’s history — though the expectations were certainly much lower then. The silver lining: the Nets crushed the Knicks 113-93 in that game, one of the team’s 12 wins in the entire 2009-10 season.

  • In 181 overall matchups in the regular season and playoffs, the Knicks hold a slight edge over the Nets, winning 92 games (87 regular season, 5 playoffs) to New Jersey/Brooklyn’s 89 (84 regular season, 5 playoffs). The margin couldn’t be much closer — the Knicks score 99.6 points per contest to the Nets’ 99.3.

  • Of the 181 matchups, 9 of them have gone to overtime. The Nets have won four of the nine, including the only postseason overtime game between the two teams in 1994.
  • Brook Lopez is the longest-tenured Nets player, and in 15 games against the Knicks, he’s gone just 6-9 against them. Deron Williams is listed as doubtful to play, but in 17 contests against the Knicks, he’s earned a record of 9-8 and put up a double-double ten times. He also hung 38 points and 8 three-pointers on Jeremy Lin’s flailing Linsanity corpse.

  • Though both teams have different philosophies, they’re each led by wing scorers — Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks, Joe Johnson for the Nets. Anthony and Johnson have faced off 22 times in the regular season, with each player winning 11 contests. Anthony puts up bigger numbers in the battles (26.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists to Johnson’s 20.1-4.8-4.5) but Johnson is slightly more efficient (.465 field goal percentage, .462 three-point percentage, .873 free throw percentage to Anthony’s .458-.433-.786).

  • Okay, one more of these: Nets head coach Jason Kidd faced the Knicks 47 times as a player. He has a career 31-16 record against them, including 4-0 in the playoffs. But conversely, Kidd helped the Knicks go 2-2 against Brooklyn last season.

Jason Kidd, Jerry Stackhouse
Still stings, just a bit. (AP)

Okay, that’s enough ancient history. Now on to some more recent nuggets of information:

  • Want a fast-paced game? Change the channel. The Nets average just 94.6 possessions per game, good for 24th in the league, and the Knicks are even worse, ranking second-to last with 93.3 possessions per game. In the four contests between the two teams last season, the games were even slower, averaging a snail’s pace of 86.6 possessions per 48 minutes.

  • It doesn’t stop there: these teams aren’t just slow, they’re bad at it. When it comes to scoring with speed, these two teams are the worst in the league. The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks rank 29th and 30th, respectively, in fast break points per game.

  • You know those dreaded third quarters? They’re not just for the better borough. Though the Nets rank dead last in third quarter margin (getting outscored by an average of 4.7 points per third quarter), the Knicks join them at the bottom of the barrel, ranking second-worst by getting outscored by an average of 3.9 points in the third.

  • Another thing both teams are bad at: shooting fouls. The Nets rank 27th in the NBA in free throw rate, allowing .237 free throws per field goal attempt. The Knicks are dead last at 30th, allowing a ridiculous .291 free throws per field goal attempt, or 27.6 opponent free throws per game.

  • Looking at overall defense doesn’t paint a much better picture. The Knicks rank third-to-last in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing a putrid 105.4 points per 100 possessions in their first 16 games. Meanwhile, the Nets — led by Kevin Garnett, one of the greatest defensive players of all time — are dead last in the league, allowing 107.5 points per 100 possessions. Yuck.

  • The team’s offenses are only slightly better than their defenses, as the Nets rank 22nd and the Knicks 23rd in the NBA in offensive efficiency. That means overall, the Knicks have the fifth-worst net rating in the league, and the Nets have the fourth-worst.

  • Tonight features a clash of the anti-rebounding titans: Andrea Bargnani and Brook Lopez have the two worst rebounding rates of all starting centers who play at least 20 minutes per game this season. Lopez’s 11.4 rebound rate would rank as his worst since 2011, and though Bargnani plays center mostly by default, his 10.0 rebounding rate ranks him at the bottom.


Big thanks to research assistant Daniel Soriano for his help putting this together.