The Brooklyn Nets face the New York Knicks in a matchup of teams that “stink” -- coach Jason Kidd’s words, not ours -- Thursday night at Barclays Center, as the “Least River Rivalry” resumes. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
BOTH TEAMS STINK: Kidd said it best. And he’s right. Who would've thought it, though? Both teams came into the season with high expectations. So much for that -- at least so far. The Nets (5-13) have dropped 11 of their past 14 games, while the Knicks (3-13) have lost nine in a row. The good news? One of them is guaranteed a win. It’s not going to be a fun game to lose, though, given all the media scrutiny that will surely follow.
JUICE GONE: The Nets will be without the usual suspects: Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry. Great. Just great. Pierce talked plenty -- endearing himself to Nets fans because of his hatred of the Knicks -- but he won’t be able to back it up. That means Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson have to step up. It also means the Nets need to play well in the third quarter. Remember: Kidd went 23-4 against the Knicks as a player. But this will be his first taste of the rivalry from the coach’s seat on the bench.
LAUGHINGSTOCK: That’s what Carmelo Anthony called the Knicks. And he’s right, too. New York has a flawed roster and it hasn't helped that Tyson Chandler has been hurt. The Nets had better close out on 3-pointers (they aren't good at that) because the Knicks take a lot of them -- 25.3 per game, to be exactly. Problem is, New York shoots just 32.2 percent from beyond the arc. That’s bad. The Nets are allowing opponents to shoot 40.3 percent from 3-point range -- worst in the NBA. Yuck. By the way, who is going to guard Anthony? He averaged 35 points in four meetings against Brooklyn last season. Good luck.