New York Knicks Stat Monkey Brief: Knicks/Nets (11/26/12)
Carmelo Anthony. Deron Williams. J.R. Smith. Joe Johnson. Big names up and down both teams' rosters. The two best records in the East's Atlantic Division. New York City bragging rights. Take your pick on a compelling storyline as the 8-4 Brooklyn Nets host the 9-3 New York Knicks tonight at the Barclays Center.
But despite all the hype, this game will come down to fundamentals: turnovers, free throws, and rebounding.
The Nets turn the ball over only about 13.1 times per 100 plays, the seventh best rate in the NBA, while the Knicks generate turnovers at a 15.8% rate, fourth best in the league. The Knicks must make a concerted effort tonight to hound Nets PG Deron Williams, who has committed 36 turnovers this season, tied for 23rd most in the NBA. The Knicks are 6-0 in games where their opponent commits over 14 turnovers but just 3-3 otherwise.
The Nets rank fifth in defensive free throw factor, holding opponents to an 18.2% ratio of free throws made to field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony is tied for ninth in the league with 61 free throws made this season. In the Knicks’ loss in Houston on Friday, Melo only made two free throws. He bounced back somewhat yesterday, going 5-for-5 from the line in the Knicks’ win over Detroit. Melo must continue drawing fouls and executing from the charity stripe if the Knicks hope to win in Brooklyn tonight.
The Nets boast the NBA’s seventh best offensive rebound percentage, securing 30.4% of available offensive boards. They are led by offseason acquisitions Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans, both of whom fall in the top 26 in the NBA in ORB%. And don’t forget about Kris Humphries, who leads the Nets with 32 offensive boards.
Brooklyn’s “garbage men” have an intriguing matchup tonight against the Knicks, who rank tenth in defensive rebound percentage at 73.9%. Don’t be surprised for this offensive vs. defensive rebounding battle to decide the game, as the Knicks are 7-0 when giving up ten or fewer offensive rebounds to their opponent but 2-3 when surrendering more than ten offensive boards.