The Brooklyn Nets won the first battle of New York with a 96-89 overtime victory over the Knicks on Nov.26. The two teams are set to square off, once again, with the Knicks looking to get a measure of revenge.
On Tuesday, the Knicks will visit the Nets for the second time in the 2012-2013 season. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can watch a free live stream online at espn3.com.
Brooklyn’s win a few weeks ago against the Knicks gave them a share of the Atlantic Division lead with New YorkH. Since that victory, the two clubs have gone in opposite directions.
New York quickly bounced back from that loss. After becoming the final NBA team to lose a game, the Knicks have proven that they will be a legitimate contender in the East. They’ve gone 6-1 since their loss to the Nets, including a 20-point victory over the Miami Heat. New York currently holds the best record in the conference at 15-5.
Brooklyn has been in a tailspin of late. The Nets picked up two more victories after beating the Knicks, but are now in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
The biggest reason for Brooklyn’s struggles might be the health of Brook Lopez. The center has missed the last five games with a foot injury, and won’t be ready to go against New York.
The Knicks will look to take advantage of Lopez’s absence. The big man put up 22 points and 11 rebounds in the Nov.26 matchup. He played surprisingly well against Tyson Chandler, who was the Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Deron Williams has tried to pick up the offensive burden with Lopez stuck on the bench. The point guard is averaging 24.7 points over the last three games.
While the Nets will be without one of their best players, the Knicks top star recently returned to the court. Carmelo Anthony started against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, after missing two games with a finger injury. He led all scorers in the first matchup between the Knicks and Nets with 35 points.
Jason Kidd is also back on the court. He missed four games with a back injury, including the Knicks loss to the Nets. He’s expected to get the start against his former team.
Kidd has been a large part of the Knicks success from three-point range. New York has used the three-point shot to help catapult them to the top of the East. The Knicks 11.9 threes per game is by far and away the most in the league. It might be tough for them to reach their average against the Nets, who allow the fewest shots from behind the arc per game.
Despite result of the last matchup, the Knicks are favored to win at the Barclays Center. The betting line at most Las Vegas sportsbooks has them as 3.5-point favorites.
Prediction: Over the last four games, the Nets have proven how much they miss Lopez. With Chandler in the middle of the Knicks defense, Brooklyn will have a tough time getting points in the paint. Joe Johnson is only shooting 41 percent from the field, and unless he and Williams can have big scoring nights, it will be tough for the Nets to pick up the win.
Predicted Score: New York 95, Brooklyn 84