Kristaps Porzingis Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will play a Monday MLK Day matinee at Barclays Kristaps Porzingis looking to snap his squad out of a funk with the home team attempting to do the same.

Other than Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the single most important regular season date of the National Basketball Association season and from a New York Knicks perspective, this basketball holiday has created many moments.

The first MLK Day Knickerbockers game came all the way back in 1987 when Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics came into the Garden. The Trent Tucker rule was established on MLK Day. In 2001, the Knicks and Spurs brawled on the Garden court on this special day. And, of course, who can forget Patrick Ewing reaching 15,000 career points via this edition circa 1994?

This year, New York look to snap a three-game losing streak and funk that’s seen 10 losses in its last 12 while Brooklyn is set to stop a four-of-five losing stretch of its own.

For the Knicks, the beginning of a season-high seven-game road trip that will not only even up the contrasting home-away split they’ve experienced, but put the road game count two ahead of the home column. Jeff Hornacek understands this is the pivotal point in his team’s season, via Stats LLC.

“Those are trips that in the past, that teams I have been on, teams our coaches have been on, teams some of our players have been on, that can turn things around,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “You go out there and somehow win five of seven road games, all of a sudden your mentality becomes that much different. We’re looking at it as an opportunity. We’ll see if we can rise to it.”

Their current 4-15 record away from Manhattan has been the story of the season, rivaling the health of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter.

Brooklyn Nets

In fact, 17 of their next 23 games will be away from Madison Square Garden due to the Grammy’s and the Big East Tournament. Kristaps Porzingis is simply taking each day at a time while looking to take away positives even after their tough Sunday overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at home.

“So, so many similar games like this,” Porzingis said after the Knicks fell to 15-7 when leading or tied after three quarters. “It’s painful. We need to do a better job at the end of games. It’s simple.

“They made some good plays, but today one quote popped through my mind. It was, ‘A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.’ So we just have to stay positive and try to find something positive.”

For the Nets, a ton of similarities can be drawn out from their crosstown rivals. Many of their losses this season have come by single-digits. In fact, 13 of their 27 total losses including four out of their last five.

“It’s a recurring theme with our team this year,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said. “We’re in so many close games.”

Tim Hardaway Jr. returned on Friday and has since played in both games while coming off the bench. After his 25-point performance against New Orleans, perhaps Hornacek makes the Timmy-to-starter move, reuniting a strong starting-five we witnessed early in the season.

First-tip comes your way at 3 p.m. ET for a fun-filled MLK matinee in Brooklyn.

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