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Knicks-Nets

Well, this is an interesting calamity we have found ourselves introduced to at this point in the season.

Both the Knicks and Nets are struggling mightily to gain solid footing in the Atlantic Division, let alone the Eastern Conference. These two teams were picked before the season by myself and many others to battle for the division crown and a top-three or four spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Those goals are still possible with some serious turnaround in the very near future, but this can’t be the start both these teams, alleged title contenders, were looking for this season.

The two teams are a combined 8-26 and toiling at the bottom of the Atlantic Division below teams that were expected to tank, er, I mean finish near the bottom of the entire league. An 8-12 Boston team is leading this division so all is not lost at the moment, but it does look very bleak for their playoff prospects and any preseason goals they might have had.

Both teams have had issues with injuries: Tyson Chandler is out for a couple more weeks at the very least with a leg fracture, Brook Lopez missed seven games with an ankle injury, Deron Williams has been frequently out for ankle problems as well, Paul Pierce has a broken bone in his hand that will sideline him for a period of time and Andrei Kirilenko has barely played any minutes due to injuries as well.

The Nets bet the house on acquiring aged, but experienced title-hungry vets Pierce, Kirilenko, and Garnett while giving away draft picks and young assets to go well over the salary cap. Joe Johnson has regressed to a truly awful level, even if he is still fairly clutch at the end of games. Garnett has been given games off due to the wear-and-tear that coach Jason Kidd believes might break him down before they even reach the playoffs. The absurdly awful level of play from this team is only surpassed by their counterparts, the New York Knicks.

The Knicks are stuck with an abysmal roster and a head coach whose loyalties lie with the wrong players. Carmelo Anthony, who has been playing tremendously of late, has had his future plans speculated upon since the summer to the point that it has been a mild distraction for the team. J.R. Smith was suspended for the first five games due to a failed drug test and has been much worse than his splendid season last year that saw him with the Sixth Man award. Iman Shumpert has been included in every possible trade rumor known to man and it has certainly affected his game as well, even if it hasn’t been that negative.

Their bench is severely lacking in quality as Amar’e Stoudemire’s defensive woes outweigh his offensive ability to a hilariously bad extent, Metta World Peace’s shot selection makes you want to rip your hair out and Beno Udrih was starting in place of an injured Ray Felton for a short while and is not the answer for this team.

The two bright spots on the bench have been Pablo Prigioni, who doesn’t get nearly enough minutes due to coach Woodson’s aforementioned loyalties to Smith and Tim Hardaway, Jr. who has looked very good offensively at times yet gets subbed out also in favor of Smith.

These two teams are uniquely terrible in their own respective ways and it’s been a bit surprising just how poorly they’ve played.

Whoever wins tonight will have a brief moment of relief and some optimism going forward, even though neither team should put any significant stock or value in beating the other team. They’re a combined 5-12 against a truly weak Eastern Conference.

I’d put my money on the Knicks tonight with Pierce and Williams out for the Nets. It truly is the best of a bad situation.

 

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