Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New York Knicks vs. New Jersey Nets - Preseason Game #2

Tonight at 7:30, the Knicks will host the New Jersey Nets for both clubs' final preseason games.

For the Knicks, it will be their first time playing a real game in the renovated Madison Square Garden. There will be plenty to watch out for tonight, on both the Knicks' and the Nets' sides.

Take the jump for some notes and important scouting info on our pesky opponents!

On last Saturday's outing (also against the Nets), there were some good and bad things to take away. There were spurts of crisp, clean basketball fused with disorganized disarray. The Knicks took the win by a fairly sizable margin, but some of it wasn't all that convincing.

There were good things like Carmelo Anthony's passing, Renaldo Balkman and Josh Harrellson providing energy off the bench, and Iman Shumpert's all around wonderfullness.

However, there were also some not as good things like the Knicks' lack of someone to get them in their offense. This is mainly because Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby are generally not starting quality point guards. Likewise, Amar'e Stoudemire and Landry Fields had poor offensive outings, shooting a combined 5-23 from the field.

Here are some things to look out for:

- Will Carmelo continue his spledid passing? Mike D'Antoni said that the Knicks will likely run the offense through Melo (ala Larry Bird), and Alan Hahn tweeted that Melo has been running the point full-time in practice.

- Will Iman Shumpert continue to impress? Last game Iman showed flashes of versatile scoring, solid defense, and comfortability with the ball in his hands.

- Was Renaldo Balkman's game a fluke? Last game Balkman scored 20 points, and was active on the glass and on defense. If he's for real, the Knicks could use somebody off the bench to provide energy, rebounding, and slashing.

- How will Fields and Stoudemire shoot tonight? Last game were they just rusty? Were they thinking too much? We'll monitor how that goes.

As is the case with pretty much every team, the Nets also looked a little sloppy at times last game. The Nets' team was still a little bit incomplete, with Shawne Williams out with the flu, and the "Kardashian guy" Kris Humphries situation unsettled. How will they look tonight?

- Will Shawne Williams come out with a vengeance in his return to the Garden, and go all Reggie Miller on our asses? I could be wrong, but I don't see why Williams would feel the need to get revenge on the Knicks.

- Will Brook Lopez once again be a force in the paint? Last game, Lopez had 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks. With his formed "lazy" ways supposedly abandoned, will he and Tyson Chandler duke it out down low?

- Will Deron Williams look to redeem a lackluster showing? Despite an active offseason playing in Turkey, last game Deron played subpar.

- Will Kris Humphries play tonight? He reached an agreement with New Jersey today for a one-year contract. Is he going to play without any practice?

- Will the Nets run out an 80% Williams line-up, with Deron, Shelden, Shawne, and Jordan Williams? This is very important.

Pregame Scouting Info
- Anthony Morrow is a great shooter, who excells at running curls and nailing 3-pointers. In preparation for the game, he has been running circles around the coffee table in his living room, and shooting cheese puffs into teammate Ime Udoka's mouth. He believes this improves his accuracy.

- Shelden Williams, who's often labeled as a "dirty work" player, has taken that label to heart and has not showered since last Saturday's game. His teammates are all annoyed by the stench, except for Brook Lopez who's used to it, because his brother Robin hasn't showered since their days together at Stanford University.

- Marshon Brooks, the Nets' rookie, is a talented scorer, with his skillful ball-handling and sweet stroke. However, recently Marshon burned his shooting hand while making a grilled cheese sandwich. Because of this, Avery Johnson has designed some plays where Marshon will head the ball into the hoop, like Air Bud. Marshon is also trying to add a "K" on his #9 jersey, like Air Bud.

Don't expect this game to feature beautiful beasketball between either team. There still has only been a couple weeks worth of practice time, and before that, they hadn't played together for about 8 months.

Preseason isn't terribly important in terms of wins, but it is important for the Knicks to get their chemistry together, and hopefully find some offensive familiarity.

Enjoy the game!

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