The Knicks are favored by 1.5 points at home over the Nets
Well, this is admittedly surprising. ESPN and Vegas are seeing different outcomes for this game. The Knicks are favored by 1.5 points in Vegas, but the ESPN.com matchup predictor favors the Nets over 55.5% to 44.5%. In reality, this game could go in either direction.
Neither team has been particularly good this season, but one squad looks to be on the right path to a rebuild while the other has failed to live up to expectations. The Knicks look to be on their way to a much improved season compared to 2019. New York has already surpassed their win total from last year to this year through 46 games this season. In 2018-19, New York only won 10 of their first 46 games. This season, the Knickerbockers have secured two more wins through their first 46 compared to last year, giving them a record of 12-34. Nobody is saying that they are the most improved team in the NBA, but fans should be happy with any noticeable improvements to a team that was just dreadful last year. Furthermore, the Knicks were basically in sole possession of the worst record in the NBA all of last season. This year though, New York finds themselves ahead of the Warriors, Hawks, and Cavaliers in the league standings. It is obvious that the New York Knicks are not a very good team, but building from one year to the next and developing young players should be the main focus right now for New York, and they seem to be doing a pretty good job of that. In fact, the Knicks are 8-16 since firing David Fizdale, which is not a terrible record.
Meanwhile, New York’s other basketball team has been incredibly disappointing. This time last year, the Nets were hovering around a .500 record on the season, a year where they finished 42-40 and made the Eastern Conference playoffs as a six seed. This season has been completely different though. Brooklyn is an unimpressive 19-25 on the year. It is not a lost year though because the Nets are still in contention for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Regardless, the team has clearly taken a step back from last year to this year, which is disastrous considering the free agents they brought in.
Neither team is playing very well at the moment. Both squads have recent wins, by they are overshadowed by a string of losses. In fact, both the Nets and the Knicks have lost five of their last six games. However, it is the Nets who have the more recent victory after they beat the Pistons 121-111 in overtime on Saturday. As for New York, they come into this one after a pair of close losses to the Lakers and Raptors, two of the NBA’s better teams.
This will be the fourth and final matchup between these divisional rivals this year. Brooklyn currently leads the season series two games to one, but the Knicks won the most recent outing between these teams 94-82. In that matchup, the Nets only had two players score more than 10 points in the game while the Knicks were carried by Julius Randle and Marcus Morris Sr. who combined for 55 points. This time around, I expect things to go a different way.
This game will be decided by the fact that the Nets will once again have the services of superstar point guard Kyrie Irving. The six time all-star is coming off a season-high 45 point outing against the Pistons. Meanwhile, the Knicks were kept in check against the Raptors, as Marcus Morris Sr. led the team with 21 points in the game. I once again think that Kyrie will go for 40 points or more tonight. This will be Kyrie’s last chance to play the Knickerbockers this year, and I think he wants to prove to the city that he made the right decision choosing to play for the Nets instead of the Knicks this past off-season. If Brooklyn can keep Julius Randle in check, then I like their chances in this game. The Nets will win this one outright, but it will be close.