Knicks vs. Nets 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
In arguably their biggest and best win of the season, the Knicks toppled the defending champs at home yesterday. Bouncing back from a loss against New Orleans, New York improved to 16-16 on the season and tied the Celtics for the seventh spot in the latest Eastern Conference standings. The Knicks are a hot team heading into the matchup against the Nets with an 8-2 record over their last 10 games. On Sunday, newly acquired guard J.R. Smith earned court time and hit three long bombs early in the contest. Baron Davis suited up for the game but did not enter the contest as he eyes a return to the floor soon. Head coach Mike D’Antoni expects Carmelo Anthony to play into tonight’s game with the Knicks close to a completely healthy roster.
Since the loss to New York on February 4, New Jersey has only recorded one victory against a Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls on Saturday afternoon. The injury plagued Nets face a season without Damion James and Keith Bogans. Additionally, Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, and Jordan Farmar are going to miss significant time moving forward for a 9-24 New Jersey squad. A bright spot for the Nets was the season debut for center Brook Lopez last night against the Bucks, whether he remains a member of their franchise is still in question. New Jersey will play its next six of eight games on the road, including an intriguing matchup against the Magic on Wednesday. With the All-Star break on the horizon and the trade deadline looming, all eyes are focused on Dwight Howard and if he will be dealt to the Nets this season.
Last Time Out
Jeremy Lin scored 28 points and dished out 14 assists in a 104-97 victory over the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden.
The Nets fell to Milwaukee last night 92-85 at the Prudential Center. New Jersey allowed Ersan Ilyasova to score 29 points in 36 minutes in the defeat.
The Numbers Game
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lin has scored 200 points and distributed 76 assists in his first eight starts as an NBA point guard. With those numbers, Lin tops the list ahead of Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, and John Stockton.
Match-up to Watch
Jeremy Lin vs. Deron Williams
This game features another test for the emerging Lin against an elite point guard in the NBA. Deron Williams averages 26.8 points per game in the Nets wins while shooting 45.9 percent from the floor and posting 10 assists. His production is highly valuable to New Jersey in similar fashion as Lin’s importance to New York. Williams is an extremely strong point guard with the ability to work off the dribble or drain jumpers on the perimeter. The Nets leading man will be motivated to end all the LINsanity that ironically began against his team 16 days ago at the Garden.
What to Look For
Anthony’s return will be intriguing as he gets a chance to join a Knicks team that has won eight of their last 10 games. During his rehab process from the strained groin, Anthony explained how his return would not affect the overall chemistry of the team. Without the pressure of handling the ball from the point forward position, Anthony will go back to his sweet spots on the floor and will focus on lighting up the scoreboard. After a spectacular win for the Knicks over the Mavericks yesterday, the squad will have to avoid a hangover tonight against a Nets team that is just 5-10 on the road.