So I went to the Stats page to do some research for this game and I couldn’t find the Knicks in the Eastern Conference standings. It took my about a second to realize that I just needed to look up. I was scanning the bottom of the standings. Old habits die hard I guess. Yes, the Knicks are in the top half of the Conference standings a month into the season. How nice is that?
New York (9-9) looks to improve on their 2-5 home record as they host the Nets (6-11). While the Knicks have found ways to beat weaker teams on the road, they have struggled at home. Conversely, the Nets have been very bad on the road (2-7) and somewhat better at home (4-4).
A quick look at the Four Factors shows us that the Nets struggle to score. The Nets play a slow game with only 88.2 possessions per game which is last in the NBA. The Nets are also in the bottom third of the NBA in offensive efficiency (104.7), eFG% (48.3) and OReb% (21).
The Knicks should not take the Nets lightly given their own struggles on the defensive end. In spite of the Knicks success with defensive stats such as blocks and steals, the team still struggles to keep teams from scoring (109.6 Defensive Eff) and shooting well from the floor ( 51.0 defensive eFG).
What to watch for 1: Brook Lopez.
Over the 6-1 stretch, the Knicks have faced only one post player who is featured on offense, that was Blake Griffin. I think we all remember what he was able to do against our front line. I’m sure Mozgov recalls. The Knicks will need to focus on Lopez and prevent him from posting deep. Lopez can score 18.2 /36) but he can be forced into poor shooting nights (44.1 eFg). Lopez is somewhat foul prone (3.7/36) so attacking him on offense is a good way to keep him out of the game.
What to watch for 2: Devin Harris.
The Knicks have had trouble containing quick guards this season and Harris is among the quickest of them all. Harris is the main cog on offense (18.2 points, 6.8 assists per 36). Harris loves to get his man off balance on defense then take a mid range jumper or get to the hole. The Knicks defensive effort should include fighting over screens and force Harris to create offense from deep which is not his comfort zone (0.9 attempts per 36 at 34%).