New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets (-7, 194 o/u)
Despite a sub-.500 record, the Brooklyn Nets (20-28, 9-15 home) have been playing decent basketball of late. Last Friday, the team nearly beat the Raptors in overtime; they followed that up with a solid win over the Los Angeles Clippers (which marked the return of point guard Deron Williams) and then another W in a rematch with Toronto on Wednesday.
“This is the fun part of the season – the unknown,” said Jarrett Jack. “You never know when all those hours of practice or film sessions, when they’re really going to come together and materialize and you’re going to hit that stride where you start playing consistent, positive basketball. Hopefully this is the stride for us.”
Not only did Jack score 35 points last week against the Raptors, but he added another 24 when the teams met again on Wednesday.
One of the keys to Brooklyn’s play, of late, has been new starter Alan Anderson. The 6’6″ swing-man is averaging 13.3 PPG points and shooting 52.9-percent since being inserted into the starting lineup.
“I just told the coaches, it’s very humbling to see your team start to get it,” Nets head coach Lionel Hollins said. “You fight ’em and fight ’em and yell at them and coax them and hug them. You’re doing all kinds of stuff and all of a sudden the lights come on. And they start playing for each other and believing in each other.”
Tonight, the surging Nets host their cross-town rival, the New York Knicks (10-39, 3-21 away). Like the Nets, the Knicks have showed a heartbeat of late, winning five of their last seven. Carmelo Anthony, who averages 29.5 PPG at the Barclays Center, can’t wait to return to Brooklyn tonight.
“I wouldn’t consider it a rivalry yet,” Anthony said with a grin. “It’s always a tough game, a big game when we play against Brooklyn. They’re right across the bridge.”
Even though the Nets are on a roll, the team is still 6-8 ATS as a home favorite. That’s why the streaking Knicks and the points (+7) is the play.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (Flickr: Deron Williams) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)