With the 2016-17 NBA season beginning tonight, we take a look at the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets first week of action.
The preseason is over for the two teams based in New York City, and it ended with a delightfully scheduled battle to get fans hyped up for the new season.
For NYC basketball fans, nothing is better than a game between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. This is the one of the new NBA classic matchups, and it did not disappoint. The last game of the preseason felt as if the Knicks and Nets were getting ready to head for the playoffs, and it was a great display of what fans can expect in the regular season as NY scored 116 against Brooklyn’s 111.
In terms of preseason success, the Knicks arrived at the shiny Barclays Center with great expectations; after all, they only lost two out of six games in the preseason. Although the Knicks were missing new star player Derrick Rose, they had legendary Carmelo Anthony in the starting lineup. Anthony was one of the best players of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and his return to the NY team shows that he is in top form as he scored 21 points.
Derrick Rose had the night off because he has been busy with a civil trial that ended up with the best outcome for him. Sasha Vujacic filled in for Rose and helped his teammates Anthony and Courtney Lee score the bulk of the 116 points.
The Nets did not have the best preseason. New coach Kenny Atkinson has shuffled players around quite a bit, but he seems ready to start Jeremy Lin at point guard as much as possible. Lin scored 24 points and contributed 10 assists, which means he finished the preseason with 26 assists. The Nets are settling on an offense that flows rapidly with some pick-and-roll action, but big man Brook Lopez has not been playing at his best level. Although he scored 12 points, he shot under 50 percent and only grabbed four rebounds.
As visitors, the Knicks arrived as favorites mostly due to the lackluster defense that the Nets have shown through the preseason; however, games are never easy for visitors to the Barclays Center, and the rousing fans propelled the Nets to an early lead that ended up tied at 24. They later built an 11-point lead but the Knicks eventually caught up. The Nets were not able to rally like their opponents in scenarios when they fell behind, which led to the ultimate victory by the Knicks.
The Knicks will begin their season with a trip to Cleveland, where they hope to show the reigning champion what this team is capable of with Anthony and Rose as their star players. Sports analysts are giving New York 100/1 odds of winning the NBA Finals.
The Nets will also go on the road to start the season against the Boston Celtics, a team that is among the favorites to make it to the Finals. The Nets have a very tough season ahead; even with proven veterans such as Jeremy Lin, Anthony Bennett and Bojan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn is one of the teams expected to be at the bottom of the league along with Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Sacramento.