Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets @ New York Knicks

It’s the third meeting between the two crosstown “rivals” tonight as the Nets head to MSG to take on the Knicks. The Nets have now lost 7 of their last 8, with their only win being against the worst team in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tonight will be the first meeting between the two teams since their respective trades and a little more than two hours before the game, it’s still not crystal clear whether D-Will is going to give it a go tonight. Whether he plays or not the Nets need to find a way to score, and will need to slow down the Knicks, in order to win tonight.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on at the Garden:

Scoring. The Nets haven’t done much of this lately. Obviously the team’s dip on offense coincided with the loss of Deron Williams but the Nets haven’t scored 100 points since March 11 and have scored under 90 in each of their last three games (all losses). It is no secret that the Knicks play relatively no defense, so if the Nets can’t get some punch on offense tonight and at least fill it up to some extent, it will be quite disappointing. 

First Quarter. In the Nets last three games, they have trailed by an average of 11.0 points after the first quarter. That is not exactly a recipe to win in the NBA. The Knicks are a team that has struggled of late (aside from their win over Orlando on Monday) so getting out to a fast start will be critical if the Nets are going to get a W. Because they don’t really play any defense, the Knicks are a much better team when they get an early lead, so it will be critical for the Nets to try and prevent that from happening.

Send a Message. The Nets are not going to make the playoffs and their season is going to end in nine games. But tonight’s game is one of the only big ones left on the schedule. It’s against the Knicks, it’s on national TV (ESPN) and it’s the first meeting against the team that got Carmelo Anthony instead of the Nets. A lot will depend on if D-Will can play, but if he does it would be a very encouraging sign (especially for next season) if the Nets can help to continue the Knicks downturn and win this game.