Before we get to the lineups, just wanted to say one thing. Expect Brook Lopez to get a lot of touches. He is playing a smaller big man who he put up nice numbers against already this year. He is also coming off a game where he didn’t get many touches. A lot of people are equating the return of Yi to this downturn in production from Brook, but I don’t see it. He struggled against Minnesota because of foul trouble, plus Al Jefferson looks to be 100% healthy, and he is a very good defender. He played pretty well against Houston, and against the Thunder, well, the Thunder took defending Brook to the extreme. The Thunder fronted Brook every single time they could. This made it tough for him to make the catch, and that is why he had such a rough game. I am expecting a big game from Brook tonight.
As for the team’s health issues, CDR and Josh Boone are back to push to roster to 13 with Hayes and Najera being the only two out. Yi/Brook Lopez/CDR/Devin Harris all together again, this could get exciting. Onto the matchups!
Devin Harris vs. Chris Duhon
Chris Duhon has been playing much better since the Nets and the Knicks played last, while Devin has sort of been treading water since his return. I think the return of Yi and CDR will help Devin not only put up more assists, but it will help him when it comes to scoring, because in CDR and Yi, you have two more threats out there that defenses need to focus on.
Advantage: Devin Harris
Courtney Lee vs. Wilson Chandler
With all the talk of Yi’s success and Brook’s lack of success, Courtney Lee is getting lost in the shuffle. He still isn’t shooting the ball as well as you want him to, but he is knocking down more shots, hitting some threes and playing some awesome defense. Oh and how about that dunk from Devin’s pass against the Thunder? I thought there was no way he was going to get to it, then he kept rising, grabbed the ball with one hand, and threw it down.
CDR vs. Danilo Gallinari
CDR is back, and he is getting a pretty favorable match-up in Danilo. I say favorable, because Gallinari is more of a spot up shooter, and with CDR coming off an ankle injury, a guy like Gallinari is easier to defend, than say, a guy like Brandon Roy. I am going to be holding my breath when Al Harrington enters the game for Danilo.
Yi vs. Jarred Jeffries
Yi has been phenomenal since his return, against the Knicks I see that being able to continue. Yi should be able to pull Jeffries out with his shot, and now that Yi actually wants to drive, he is going to be able to blow post him when he closes. New Yi is awesome.
Brook Lopez vs. David Lee
Brook Lopez had two nice outings against the Knicks and like I said above, I am hoping that will continue. The only thing that could set everything back is if Brook picks up fouls. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, and I really don’t think it would because the Knicks shoot more than they drive, and that is less chances for Brook Lopez to pick up fouls.
Advantage: Brook Lopez
Quick recap might be a bit late tonight, but it will be there, so don’t worry everyone.