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Saturday, March 8, 2014

W2W4: New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers; March 8th, 2014

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Pre-Game News and Notes

The Knicks will look to continue their winning streak in what is their biggest game of the season to date against the Cavaliers tonight. The Knicks, who enter the game 4.5 games behind eighth place in the Eastern Conference, have the Cavaliers right ahead of them in the standings. A victory over them tonight would pull the teams within a tie and that much closer to a playoff spot. The Cavaliers will be sure to get up for the game as longtime center ┼Żydr┼źnas Ilgauskas will have his number retired prior to the game. Here are some things to look for in the game tonight.

Match-up of the game: Raymond Felton vs. Kyrie Irving

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Felton has turned things around the last two games for the Knicks and not coincidentally both games have resulted in Knicks victories. Felton has done well getting into the paint and breaking down the defense, opening up easy scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. When Felton is causing havoc in the paint it opens up rolling opportunities for Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire to the rim for alley-oops and open jump shots for Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.

A key to slowing down the Cavaliers is containing Irving, which is easier said than done. When Irving shoots at least 40 percent from the field, the Cavaliers are 20-20 on the season; when he is below that they are 3-17 according to STATS LLC. The Knicks have struggled all season containing point guards, but have done a good job in the last two games against Ricky Rubio and Trey Burke. If they are able to contain Irving tonight in any capacity it would go a long way in picking up their third consecutive victory.

-Starting Lineup Clicking

Mike Woodson made yet another change to the starting lineup this week, inserting Stoudemire and Smith to go along with Felton, Anthony and Chandler. Since the change the Knicks have played much better basketball, getting out to strong starts and outscoring opponents 105-66 in the first quarters. The last two first quarters the Knicks have tied and set the highest scoring quarters for the season.

The change to the lineup has gotten the Knicks best players on the court to start the game and the results have been positive. The Knicks aren’t falling behind early, instead taking the control early on and forcing their opponents to climb out of deep holes. The cohesion in the starting lineup is something the Knicks have lacked all season but look to have gotten in the last week.

-Bench Play

With the changes the Knicks have made to the starting unit the bench has suffered. Tim Hardaway Jr. has become the biggest threat off the bench, a large drop-off from Smith and Stoudemire. It is hard to ask Hardaway Jr. to pick up the slack of both those players. One player who could help a lot if Iman Shumpert. He needs to pick things up and help carry the bench scoring load with Hardaway Jr. looking to slow down at times recently.

On the contrary, the Cavaliers have a strong option off the bench in Dion Waiters. Waiters is an explosive scorer and is capable of running the offense as well when needed. Anderson Varejao is also expected to return tonight. It will be in a limited basis, but his return to the court will give the Cavaliers a shot in the arm as he brings a lot of energy and intangibles fans of the Cavaliers have enjoyed watching over the past couple of seasons when he is healthy.

-Keep Momentum Going

The Knicks are in the middle of the softest part of the schedule. Eight of the next nine games the Knicks play are against teams with a combined record of 137 games below .500. If they are to climb into the playoff race and keep their slim hopes alive there is no better time than now to do so. The Knicks have shown under Woodson when things starting clicking they are capable of getting into a groove. If they are to sneak into the playoffs, no matter how undeserving or poor they have played this season, it has to start tonight. On the road in Cleveland is most likely the toughest task the Knicks will have in the next nine games outside a meeting with the Indiana Pacers.

Nets Shooting Woes Cost Them in Boston

scores.espn.go.com
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

March 7th, 2014

Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics Post Game Recap

Final Score: Nets 84 Celtics 91

The Brooklyn Nets were unable to stay above the .500 mark on Friday night, as they were defeated by the Boston Celtics. The loss moves the Nets to (30-30) on the season, and they now trail the Toronto Raptors by four games in the Atlantic Division.

Player of the Game: Joe Johnson

Shooting Guard Joe Johnson was questionable to play on Friday with an illness, but was able to play, and along with Deron Williams was good for Brooklyn. Johnson finished with a game-high 21 points on nine for 21 shooting. He also grabbed seven rebounds, which was a quarter of the Nets total rebounds as the Celtics dominated the glass, holding the Nets to just 28 as a team. It was the third straight good game from Johnson, which is important for the Nets heading into the stretch run.

Friday, March 7, 2014

W2W4: Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics March 7th, 2014

barclayscenter.com
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

March 7th, 2014

W2W4: Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics

The Brooklyn Nets will be heading up to Boston to play against the Celtics on Friday night, as the Nets will look to stay above the .500 mark against a struggling Celtics team. With their (30-29) record the Nets are sitting three games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.

- No Return for KG

Kevin Garnett has missed the last three games with back spasms and wont be available for the Nets on Friday night against his former team the Celtics. Rookie Mason Plumlee will be making the start yet again in place of Garnett. Plumlee hasnt played bad in the starting role, as the athletic, energitic Plumlee is averaging five points and a little more than five rebounds per game in the absence of Garnett. Joe Johnson is listed as questionable for Friday, as he is a bit under the weather. Even against the Celtics its tough to head into a game without possibly two of your normal starting lineup.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Nets Reach Above .500 For First Time This Season

nytimes.com
By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)

March 5th, 2014

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Brooklyn Nets Post Game Recap

Final Score: Grizzlies 94 Nets 103

For the first time in the 2013-2014 season, the Brooklyn Nets are now an above .500 team after their victory on Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. The win moves the Nets to (30-29) on the season, and they now sit three games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division. 

Player of the Game: Joe Johnson

Brooklyn got a nice game from Joe Johnson, who when he plays well for the Nets they win. In the victory Johnson scored a game-high 21 points on eight for 13 shooting, which included him going five of seven from three-point range. He also added four assists, and had the highest +/- in the game going a monstrous +30. Two straight good games of scoring for Johnson against two very good teams in the Chicago Bulls and Grizzlies both resulted in impressive Nets victories.

Knicks Snap Losing Streak With Win Over Timberwolves

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Post Game Recap

The Knicks were able to get a much needed victory and snap their seven-game losing streak Wednesday Night in Minnesota against the Timberwolves 118-106. It was a great team effort put forth by the team tonight as they got going right from the start, never trailing in the game and being engaged from the opening tip through the final whistle. The victory moves the Knicks record to 22-40 on the season and moves them to within six games of the Atlanta Hawks, who play at the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks will look to keep the positive play going Friday night against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden.

Player of the Game: Raymond Felton

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Felton had his best game in a long time and arguably this season as he scored 18 points to go along with eight assists, three rebounds, four steals and one block. Felton played with supreme confidence and energy tonight as he attacked the basket and created easy opportunities for himself and his teammates. Felton’s aggressiveness makes things immensely easier for the Knicks as easy baskets and open jump shots become more readily available. As Felton goes the Knicks go and if they are to make a final push for the playoffs to close the season Felton needs to continue playing close to what he did tonight.

-Positives

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Knicks Losing Streak Hits 7

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

New York Knicks vs. Detroit Pistons

Post Game Recap

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
This was a rough game to watch for fans of either team, but it hurt a little more for Knicks fans as they fell to the Pistons 96-85 Monday night. The Knicks didn’t not put forth the effort once again and were once again embarrassed by their opponent. The focus and attention to detail just are not there for this team as a playoff run looks as out of the question as ever now. They have completely collapsed after a strong January and look to just be going through the motions as the positives needed to win basketball games are coming far too sporadically for this team. The Knicks losing streak now hits seven as they have lost 13 of their last 15 games and fall to 21-40.

Player of the Game: None

There was no Knicks player that brought it on both ends of the court tonight. The closest person was Jeremy Tyler, who came in and continued to give the energy and competitiveness he has shown all season. With the season all but down the drain he should see his minutes increase. You could also say that Shannon Brown and Earl Clark were players of the game as they didn’t give any negative plays to the Knicks on the court being stapled to the bench and receiving DNP-Coach Decision.

-Positives