Pre-Game News and Notes
The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will be facing off in a big game Wednesday night, as the Knick are fighting to get into the playoffs and the Nets are looking to move up in the standings. The Knicks are coming off their most successful west coast trip since 1999-2000 and will look to ride that momentum tonight against their cross-town rivals. For the Nets, they played last night and handled the Houston Rockets rather easily. Here are some things to look for tonight in the
of the Boroughs.
-Player News and Notes
The Knicks are staring at a big problem tonight, as Tim Hardaway Jr. is questionable with an ankle injury. Hardaway Jr. injured the ankle in the waning moments of the Knicks win Monday night over the Utah Jazz. If he is unable to go, Iman Shumpert will be in line for an increase in minutes and big role in the game plan. Amar’e Stoudemire should be back in the lineup for the Knicks tonight after sitting out Monday with a planned day of rest.
For the Nets, they will still be without Kevin Garnett. Garnett is not expected to make a return to the lineup until next week at the earliest. Andrei Kirilenko was not able to play last night for the Nets and his status is up in the air for the game tonight. Same goes for Marcus Thornton, who missed Tuesday’s game with back problems.
-Match-Up Of the Game: Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul Pierce
|Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images|
These two have matched up together since Anthony was traded to the Knicks from the Denver Nuggets and will continue to be the match-up to watch tonight as well. The Nets have begun using a smaller lineup with Garnett sidelined, with Pierce filling the role Anthony does with the Knicks in a smaller lineup. No matter what position they lineup at tonight, the two of them should be matched up together a majority of the night.
-Who Replaces Hardaway Jr.?
If Hardaway Jr. is unable to go tonight because of his ankle, the first player in line to take over his minutes will be Shumpert. Shumpert's struggles have been well documented this season, but the Knicks will need to him to look more like he did on the Texas Triangle trip tonight to overcome the Nets. Shumpert had a strong game offensively in the Knicks victory over the Nets this season, scoring 17 points, but struggled mightily in the loss to the Nets scoring only five points.
Where Shumpert will help the Knicks is the defensive end. Shumpert is far and away the better defender compared to Hardaway Jr., and that will be important tonight as the Knicks and Nets are both playing good basketball right now. Whichever team can get the timely stops will be able to come out ahead tonight.
The Knicks will have a huge edge on the interior tonight and they must take advantage of it. Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler have combined to be quite a force on the inside recently for the Knicks, resulting in much better results in the win-loss column. Tonight they have to take advantage of the opportunities that will be given to them in Miles Plumlee and Andray Blatche.
With the Nets going small, the Knicks need to pound in the paint and attack the basket. The Nets do not have any rim protectors and should be able to make a living in the interior. If they are able to do that, it will open up the perimeter for players such as J.R. Smith and Anthony to knock down three pointers.