For the parents out there, maybe you can relate. Your kid has had a run of mistakes and made bad choices, so you sit the child down. You say, “I’m upset about what you’ve done, but I’m more disappointed that you aren’t living up to your potential.” Or some sort of Alan Thicke to Kirk Cameron spiel.
Lord, where is Alan Thicke when the Knicks need his wisdom? (Dead, actually, but the question is rhetorical.)
When last we saw our spiraling heroes, they had lost in overtime to the tanking Oklahoma City Thunder, who were without their two best players. Tonight, the New York Knicks (25-33) host the Brooklyn Nets (30-27) in their final game before a much-needed All-Star break respite.
The Nets won their first meeting of the season 112-110 on November 30. Alec Burks led the Knicks with 25 points in that affair; Derrick Rose added 16 points and nine assists in 35 minutes off the bench. James Harden and Kevin Durant scored a combined 61 points for the Nets. Here’s a gift from the small favors department: neither Durant nor Harden will be on the floor tonight. Guaranteed W, right?
Brooklyn has had a few wild weeks. They had lost 11 straight before finally winning on Monday against the Kings, 109-85. They have fallen to eighth in the East, are 13th in defense, 19th in offense, and 11th in pace. And last week, Harden forced his way to Philadelphia in a trade for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round draft picks. Sorry, Nets fans, it’s too late to return your Harden jerseys for a refund.
Meanwhile, on the Knicks’ trade front…well, they turned Kevin Knox II into Cam Reddish. That’s something, if Cam actually plays. Will he log more than eight minutes tonight? Or will he, Obi Toppin, and Deuce McBride continue to be iced out by Thibs?
Yet another ESPN game, folks. Tip-off’s at 7:30 pm.
In his 13th season, Patty Mills (6’1”, 180 lbs) has averaged 13.3 points and 2.6 assists for the Nets. The 33-year old Aussie is launching 7.6 attempts from downtown per game and making 42% of them. Believe it or not, Patty Melt’s defensive rating (115.9) is worse than Kemba Walker’s (112.7). Advantage Kemba, amiright??
Seth Curry (6’2”, 185 lbs) is averaging 15.2 points, four assists, and 3.4 rebounds. Like his brother, Seth is nuts about long balls, hoisting eight attempts on average and cashing in 40%. Doc’s son-in-law plays occasional defense, so he and Evan Fournier should cancel each other out.
A 25-year old from Beantown, Bruce Brown (6’4”, 202 lbs) only scores 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 21 minutes per game, but rates in the 96 percentile with 3.9 deflections and seems to be a respectable defender. He’ll be a nice challenge for Quentin Grimes, savior of the city and substitute for RJ Barrett (ankle, still...damn you, Thibs).
Rookie Kessler Edwards (6’8”, 215 lbs) is a spot-up shooter who has averaged 6.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per outing. Count on the 21-year old Pepperdine alum to be outmatched by Julius Randle tonight.
Mount Vernon’s own Andre Drummond (6’10”, 279 lbs) has averaged 8.8 rebounds, 6.2 points, and 4.5 deflections per game in his 10th season. He’s also good for three stocks. The UConn alum has played well against Mitchell Robinson in the past, averaging 17.8 points, 16 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in their nine meetings. Prepare for a clash of the titans!
Does Tom Thibodeau even have an inner Alan Thicke to channel? I hope so. I want to hear the Growing Pains theme song blasting from the Knicks’ locker room and feel reassured that everything will be fine by the time the credits roll.
Somehow, ESPN.com gives the Knicks a 58% chance of winning tonight’s contest. Eh. The Knicks are twelfth in the Eastern Conference, 2-and-8 in their last ten, and losers of their last two. It isn’t that they haven’t played good stretches of basketball, but on the whole, they’ve been gawdawful. And yet, so have the Nets, who have lost eight in a row on the road. And, technically, tonight’s a road game....
Since we won’t see the Knicks again until the 25th (against the Heat?! Dammit), let’s part ways on a positive note. Knicks by +/- 2.
Manhattan. Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. Be the better borough, Knicks!