On the strength of two wins over the New Orleans Hornets and Charlotte Bobcats, the New Jersey Nets (17-37) host the New York Knicks (26-26) tonight at the Prudential Center. Here are a few keys to the game:
Three in a row: The three-game win streak has been a largely elusive accomplishment for the Nets this year, and the Knicks will pose a tough challenge to getting there tonight. The Knicks are not as good as they appear to be, thanks to the New York hype machine, but Amare Stoudemire & Co. still have the talent to put up big points. The Nets defense will need to stiffen up and contain the Knicks’ scoring, as they can’t afford to get involved in a barn burner with the Knicks
Devin Harris and Brook Lopez: Harris and Lopez were finally the leaders their team needs them to be last night against the Bobcats, shouldering the load offensively. Harris had 16 points and 8 assists, and Brook Lopez had 31 points and 11 rebounds. If they can continue to play cohesive basketball, the Nets’ performance will improve as a result.
Derrick Favors on Amare Stoudemire: Favors will have one of his toughest tests on defense so far this season, as he will likely match up against Stoudemire. So far this year, Favors’ second foul in the first quarter has been a virtual guarantee, so let’s see if he can play straight-up defense and contain Amare without fouling to show the team and fans what he’s capable of as a defender.
Note: After this pregame thread was added, we learned that Amar’e will be out tonight with a sprained right big toe. – DK