New York Knicks Brief: Knicks/Nets (12/19/12)

In this, the newest of cross-town rivalries, who shall prevail?

Tied at 97.

Clock running down: 30 seconds, 29, 28…

Raymond Felton drives toward the lane then passes to an open Jason Kidd, who puts up a three-ball… GOOD!

Kidd buries the three while fouled by Jerry Stackhouse!

The Knicks went on to win 100-97, overcoming a 17-point, first quarter deficit to take New York City bragging rights back from the Nets.

But should Kidd’s trifecta have counted?

Upon closer inspection, you can see that Kidd kicked his right leg out towards Stackhouse while putting up his shot, which technically should’ve been ruled an offensive foul.

But fortunately for the Knicks, the official(s) missed the call, and the Knicks escaped Brooklyn with a win.

What will happen in tonight’s encore?

Here are the keys to the game:

Three Ball

Carmelo Anthony, still recovering from a sprained ankle, is questionable for tonight’s game. In his absence, the NBA’s team leader in three-pointers (286) and three-point attempts (707) has been ever more reliant on the three-ball. In the four games Melo has missed this season, the Knicks are averaging 33.3 shots from downtown, compared to 28.7 when Melo plays. Moreover, the Knicks are 2-0 in Melo’s absence when they shoot 37% or better from beyond the arc but 0-2 otherwise. So Steve Novak, J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd, and Raymond Felton must bounce back from their combined 4-for-19 (21.1%) three-point effort on Monday if they hope to win tonight’s battle for NYC.


The Knicks are coming off a season-high 17 turnovers. Interestingly, their second highest turnover game also came in Melo’s absence, when they coughed up the ball 15 times in a loss against the Bulls on December 8th. Whether or not Melo is on the floor tonight, takeaways will decide the game. In the two prior Knicks-Nets meetings this season, the winning team also won the turnover battle. Moreover, the Knicks are 18-2 on the season when they have fewer turnovers than their opponent, while the Nets are 8-2 in such games.

Brook Lopez

In their loss to the Knicks on December 11th, the Nets played without Brook Lopez, the highest ranked Net according to our nERD ratings, which attempt to evaluate the total contribution of a player throughout the season. Fortunately for Brooklyn, Lopez has recovered from his sprained right foot.

Lopez’s nERD score is an impressive 6.6, meaning that over an 82-game season, a league-average team would be expected to win about 6 or 7 games over .500 with Lopez as one of its starters. This impact comes from his contributions on both ends of the court. Offensively, he’s involved in about 28.4% of team plays while on the floor, which puts him at ninth in the NBA in usage rate. And on the defensive end, he’s sixth in the league with 2.5 blocks per game and fifth with a block percentage of 6.8% (blocking about 6.8% of opponent two-point FGs while on the floor).