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Game Preview: Knicks vs. Nets- 04/06/22

Knives out at the Garden as the Knicks try to avoid the sweep.

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets (41-38) beat up the Rockets last night. As they were supposed to. The Nets haven’t been the powerhouse that preseason prognosticators predicted they would be, but Houston is pretty much the league’s piñata. Nobody was shocked.

Brooklyn is 5-5 over the last 10 games and has managed to cling to a play-in spot. When they last met the New York Knicks (35-44), the Nets won a tight 110-107 victory, thanks to a 53-point performance by Kevin Durant. Julius Randle led the Knicks with 26 points, and Jericho Sims added 10 rebounds.

Tonight, Brooklyn returns to Madison Square Garden for the fourth game of their season series. New York is coming off a 118-88 win over Orlando, in which Immanuel Quickley played admirably yet again. With only three games left, many fans are confounded by coach Tom Thibodeau’s steadfast refusal to start the sophomore at point guard. I have a theory, though. Intrigued? Read on, Donkey Kong.

Tip-off’s at 7:30 p.m. EST, Clue fans.

PROJECTED STARTERS

Future astronaut Kyrie Irving (6’2”, 195 lbs) has averaged 27.1 points, 5.6 assists, and 4.1 rebounds in a drama-shortened season. The 29-year old former Blue Devil is shooting 47% from the field and 42% from downtown on almost eight attempts per game. Good stuff.

Irving will match wits with Alec Burks, and I’m not kidding. By now, we can surmise that someone is blackmailing Thibs to prevent him from starting Quickley. But whom?

The blackmailer could be shooting guard Evan Fournier, who scored an ignominious two points against Orlando. Perhaps the French vet feels threatened by the upstart sophomore and is using some pix of Thibs nude-sunbathing on the Riviera for nefarious purposes.

Tonight, Fournier will likely meet Patty Mills, starting for Brooklyn because Seth Curry is day-to-day with an ankle issue. Patty Melt (6’1”, 180 lbs) has averaged 11.5 points and 2.3 assists per outing in his 13th season.

Another possibility is that RJ Barrett hides an inner ruthlessness behind the chummy Canadian stereotype. In this scenario, Broadway Barrett won’t share Knickerbocker glory with anyone, especially not a Kentucky Wildcat. If Thibs starts IQ, Star-J will tell the world (or that worldly Marc Berman) how the coach promised to jettison Julius Randle in the off-season and crown Barrett the King of New York.

It’s a theory, anyway. Tonight, RJ will square off against Bruce Brown (6’4”, 202 lbs), who is averaging 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds and plays solid defense.

Might the blackmailer be Obi Toppin, he of sweet demeanor and sweeter dunks? Sure, IQ throws choice lobs his way, but both players will want big paydays at the same time soon. Keeping Quick down would help Obi get a bigger piece of the financial pie. I bet Obi used his super-jump to grab Thibs’ private diary from the top shelf and now knows how the crusty coach truly feels about Doc Rivers and Jeff Van Gundy…

Containing Kevin Durant will be a big test for Obi Toppin, starting in place of Randle. Here’s our fan-favorite saying all the right things at practice yesterday:

Finally, we come to Mitchell Robinson, the team’s Keyser Söze. Our Curious Cajun probably discovered that Thibs sleeps in a coffin and sustains himself on the blood of Knicks City Dancers. Mitch’s motive for blackmail? He’s jealous of all those choice lobs that Quick throws for Obi!

This evening, Mitch will tangle with Mount Vernon’s own Andre Drummond (6’10”, 279 lbs), who has averaged 9.2 rebounds and 7.7 points per game. Andre seems to always give Rob (shout out, Clyde) trouble. Maybe not tonight?

PREDICTION

Ladies and gentlemen, the real blackmailer is…Quickley himself. He knows it is better to come off the bench heroically than to struggle against the league’s best in the starting lineup. To keep Thibs in check, IQ has threatened to reveal the coach’s shameful bottom drawer of Snickers bars. That sweet tooth will be your undoing, Thibodeau!

Mystery solved. As for the game, yeah, the Knicks probably won’t win. The Nets lead the season series 3-0 and have Kyrie and KD. The Knicks are 5-point underdogs at the time of posting, according to DraftKings.

But, this year is off the rails anyway, so here’s another ridiculous homer prediction: Knicks by 15. Have fun watching some Knicks basketball, folks. There ain’t much left.

MSG. Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. EST. Get ’em, Knickerbockers!

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