While the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets struggle to keep pace in the Eastern Conference, what does this week look like for them?
It’s only a month into the season, but it already seems quite obvious the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets seasons are going in opposite directions. While Brooklyn is almost inevitably headed to the draft lottery – where the Boston Celtics have the rights to swap picks with them – the Knicks are showing signs of life, and may even be headed back to the playoffs.
New York just finished five straight games against playoff-caliber teams, and their 3-2 record in those contests should be viewed as major progress. The Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks are both in the top five in the Eastern Conference right now, making each a possible first-round playoff opponent for the Knicks should they reach the postseason. So getting wins over both teams is definitely a big step in the right direction.
Almost more importantly, all of the Knicks’ stars stepped up at various points during the past week and put up monster performances.
Kristaps Porzingis had 31 points and nine rebounds against Portland. The next game was Carmelo Anthony‘s turn to shine, as he had 35 points, and made what proved to be the game-winning basket against Charlotte.
Derrick Rose went head-to-head with Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, putting up 30 points in the process. While the Knicks lost the game, they’re seeing glimpses of what once made Rose the MVP of the NBA. If he keeps this up, he’ll be one of the best offseason moves made in the league last summer.
After this very trying stretch in the schedule, the team now enters an easier week of games, as they’ll face the Minnesota Timberwolves twice, the Sacramento Kings and the Miami Heat – all games they’ll be favored in, ahead of next week’s game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs.
The question – can the Knicks continue to build some momentum and success before they visit the defending NBA champs?
While Knicks fans have a myriad of reasons to be optimistic, the Nets remain mired in a losing slump.
The team is on a seven game losing streak, with the team’s defense being a major weak point. They’ve allowed at least 110 points in all seven losses, and on top of that, three of their four most recent losses were at home.
One of the Nets’ rare veterans in Brook Lopez believes the team misses starting point guard Jeremy Lin, who’s been out since the first week of November with a hamstring injury. Unfortunately for them, the team has yet to offer a timetable for his return to the court.
Brooklyn had started the season 4-5 when Lin was healthy, so there is some validity to the idea that he makes a major impact while in the starting lineup. But with no idea when he’ll come back, the Nets appear headed for more continued losing.