Knicks @ Nets 2:00 PM - Prudential Center
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
The Knicks shocked NBA fans when the franchise secured one of the top defensive centers in the league during the free agency frenzy. Tyson Chandler is widely regarded as a difference maker in the paint and was arguably the catalyst to the Mavericks’ surprising championship run last year. Additionally, New York snagged veteran guard Mike Bibby and signed rookies Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson.
While fans in New York are salivating at the rivalry that could take place between the Brooklyn Nets and Knicks, the Nets have one more season in New Jersey. The Nets landed one major component to their rebuilding process with the acquisition of Deron Williams last season. Most analysts project Dwight Howard as New Jersey’s next big free agent target to solidify its backcourt and frontcourt needs and provide Brooklyn with its desired star power. At the moment, Howard’s future remains in question and the Nets will look to improve on their 24-58 2010-11 record.
Last Time Out
The matchup in New Jersey is the first preseason game for both teams.
The Numbers Game
Carmelo Anthony averaged 32.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in four games against New Jersey last season.
Match-up to Watch
Tyson Chandler vs. Brook Lopez
For the first time since snagging Chandler on the free agent market, New York fans will get a chance to watch him play in a Knicks uniform. The first test for Chandler is the Nets big man Brook Lopez. Suiting up in all 82 games last year, Lopez averaged 20.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Lopez is not considered a physical center but he does own a nice back to the basket game and often shows strong offensive skills around the rim. Chandler is a premier shot blocker and will have an opportunity to shutdown the Nets 7-footer in one of two preseason matchups against Lopez.
What to Look For
A shortened training camp, two preseason games, and a 66-game NBA schedule has created a bit of uncertainty surrounding the specific approach to the 2011-12 season. Carmelo Anthony spoke to MSG’s Tina Cervasio about the goals for preseason game No. 1, “We want to work on what we have practicing on for the last week and a half. Just getting better, seeing what we have right now and tomorrow is a big test going up against another team – some different faces, so we’ll be ready.” The main objectives for the Knicks are to continue developing chemistry with the new-look group, maintain health, and provide the rookies with a significant amount of game experience.