New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets

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The Eastern Conference gets a battle for New York City on Monday night as the New York Knicks head across town to take on the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center for the second match between these two this season. The Knicks come into this game having just beaten Oklahoma City 119-97 in Oklahoma while Brooklyn found a way to scrape by Detroit 100-95 at home. These teams played in Madison Square Garden on January 13th with Brooklyn taking the win 116-109.

Nets On Another Winning Streak

It was only five games ago that Brooklyn had their eight-game winning streak snapped by Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. The Nets have picked it right back up again and have another winning streak now, this one at four in a row and counting after beating the Pistons on Saturday. It was a far closer affair than expected as Detroit took a one-point lead in the fourth quarter only to let it dwindle away at the end. James Harden was the main reason for Brooklyn’s escape at the end as he put up a triple-double with 24 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. Kyrie Irving contributed 18 points, five assists, and three steals while Deandre Jordan put up 14 points and nine rebounds. Joe Harris added ten points and Landry Shamet scored 15 off the bench.

The Nets have a multitude of offensive options at their disposal with the best two being Harden and Irving with Kevin Durant still sidelined indefinitely with an injured hamstring. Harden is averaging 25.2 points a game on 49% shooting with 11 assists and 7.9 boards a game to boot. Irving is the team’s second-leading scorer at 27.4 a game to go along with 5.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds per tilt. Joe Harris chips in another 14.6 points a game and is shooting 49.8% from behind the arc, second-best in the NBA. The Nets offense scores a whopping 120.6 points on 49.8% shooting, both best in the league.

Knicks’ defense continues to shine

The Knicks had a great win over Oklahoma City on Saturday night, holding the Thunder to only 97 points and forcing them into 18 turnovers and to 25% shooting behind the arc. New York, only 28th in the league in scoring at 105.2 a game, put up 119 against the Thunder on 48.4% from the floor and 40% from downtown. Julius Randle was a monster, putting up a triple-double to the tune of 26 points, 12 assists, and 12 rebounds. RJ Barrett was the team’s leading scorer with 32 points and also added five boards and three assists while Reggie Bullock added 14 on 5-12 from the floor. Off the bench, Alec Burks scored 15 points and Immanuel Quickley added another 22.

Coach Tom Thibideau knows the task they’re up against having to defend Harden and Irving, telling the New York Post, “You have to make decisions throughout the game who you’re going to double team and when.” New York, however, has the the best defense in the league, holding teams to 105 points a game. They also hold opponents to 44% shooting from the floor and only 33% from behind the arc, both best in the league. Randle is the Knicks’ best player this season, averaging 22.9 points. 5.7 assists and 11 boards, leading the team in all three categories. RJ Barrett is second on the team in scoring with 17.1 points a game with Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose (both questionable for this game) adding 12.6 and 12.5 respectively.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Brooklyn is heating up yet again, seeking their fifth win in a row so this is a difficult task for the Knicks to face. That being said, the only team Brooklyn has faced that is solid on defense during their win streak is tenth-ranked Boston. New York is a different beast with their physical, taxing defense, something Brooklyn will have more trouble than not with on Monday night. Considering the way they played against Detroit, who have a decent defense, Brooklyn is going to struggle to score the way they’re used to on Monday with Thibideau making sure to have his guys hound them all night. Randle also played well the last time these two teams met, dropping 30 points on the Nets. I think he’ll repeat that on Monday and the Knicks will keep the game interesting. They may not win, but they’ll keep it close. Take the Knicks and the points.

Prediction:
Knicks +8

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The Knicks have proven they can score with teams if needed, but Brooklyn has nothing to prove on that front as they’re the best offense in the league. Thibideau will not want his team to play Brooklyn’s style, hoping to slow it down by feeding Randle down low. While it’s impossible to prevent the Nets from scoring altogether, the Knicks will make it hard for them and keep this game somewhat manageable in the points department. These two teams play a grittier style of ball when they face each other with nine of their last ten games going under. The Nets will try to push the tempo all game, but the Knicks will keep this game on the slower side. Take the under.

Prediction:
Under 225