Saturday, February 04, 2012

Knicks vs. Nets ~ Clash of the Tired



33rd Street at 7th Avenue

The official end to the New Jersey Nets - New York Knicks slightly neighborly border war commences tonight in Madison Square Garden.  Because after June of this year, New Jersey will never visit the corner building at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue as the Nets ever again.  So take in what you can of it, because unfortunately tonight's game is shaping up to be more like a Battle of the Beaten and Battered than a prelude to a hot inner city rivalry.  No; instead these two teams are currently generating as much heat as the bottom side of a pillow.

But if you're one for living in the moment, then the Battle for Third Place is ON!  Enticing - isn't it?  The Knicks and Nets will be meeting for the third time this season.  The only difference this time is this game counts.  Both teams spent what the NBA called a pre-season playing two games against each other, in which the Knickerbockers took both.  But right about now, the Knicks might be wishing this game wouldn't count either.  They're the team with high expectations who aren't living up to them while the Nets are still trying to piece things together.

After two tough, tightly contested losses to the Bulls and then the Celtics last night, Saturday's game will be the Knicks' third game in three nights.  They lost by three points to Chicago and by two points to Boston.  What will they have left in the tank for tonight?  Good question.  Meanwhile, last night Shumpert and Tyson Chandler may have established a nice connection together and might be on to something moving forward.  Or maybe the aging Kevin Garnett just kept getting caught out of position?

Is there any good news in the Dutch Pants section of town?  I don't know.  Without a point guard, Don Nelson's old system of running the offense a-la through Anthony Mason; that is, through Carmelo Anthony isn't going very well for Coach D'Antoni.  Because he has a roster of round pegs he's trying to fit in square holes, I think we're finally starting the witness Coach get sweaty under the collar.  There's a smoldering fire building under his already hot seat.  A normally confident and sharp Coach D'Antoni sounds a little despondent lately.  When coaches start eluding to things in the abstract and saying things like - I don't know, -  that can't be good.

You know what else isn't too good?  Ending last night's game against the Celtics by launching two bricks.  They couldn't even negotiate a creative-to-decent in-bounds pass.  Little things like that to me wreak of apathy.  It didn't seem like the Knicks had a plan for their last two plays.  It looked more school yard to me.

The Nets will be playing their third game in four nights, and at least have a win over the Pistons to show for their efforts lately.  For the Nets, Deron Williams is Deron Williams, but now he's rolling with Anthony Morrow who's fresh of a forty-two point game against the T-Wolves.  While Coach D'Antoni has a bunch of mismatched players, Coach Avery is not sitting on any kind of hot seat.  He just wishes he had enough players.  Due to a couple of injuries, the Nets were only able to dress eight players a couple of nights ago.

Is there any good news for the future Hoops of Flatbush?  Well, Deron Williams has given his strongest indication to date that he will stay on with the Nets and move with the team to Brooklyn.  And word around the way is that Dwight Howard still views the Nets as his first option.  In more immediate matters, Brook Lopez is progressing well after his foot surgery.

So maybe there's actually something to this game tonight.  It's not exactly the Battle for the City yet.  One team has the gas pedal floored in their Honda Accord but isn't getting very far, while the other team can't understand why it's Benz is a lemon.  So yeah, games like this usually turn out to be rather fun to watch.  Let the Battle for Third Place...begin.


3rd  -  New York Knickerbockers   8-15
4th -  New Jersey-Brooklyn Nets     8-16

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