New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets Preview
Both New York teams will play in their second game of the season and the first of four division matchups. The Nets are coming off a tough 127-126 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves to start the season. Kyrie Irving announced his arrival in Brooklyn in a major way despite the loss. The all-star guard scored 50 points–the most by any Nets player during their debut–but ultimately came up short after stumbling and missing his game-winning attempt. Talk of Irving joining forces with Kevin Durant to play for the Knicks dominated headlines all of last season, and this will be the first of many battles between divisional rivals.
For the Knicks, they are coming off of a promising showing on the road against the San Antonio Spurs. Consolation prize and lottery pick RJ Barrett had a phenomenal rookie debut. Barrett played 37 minutes scored 21 points, grabbed five rebounds and shot 9-for-13 from the field. This rivalry has always drawn a lot of eyes, and last off-season’s drama adds to the intrigue. The entertainment scale for this one should be through the roof.
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Channel: YES, MSG
Knicks: Kadeem Allen (O), Reggie Bullock (O), Mitchell Robinson (Q)
Nets: Kevin Durant (O)
New York Knicks Starting Lineup
The Knicks opener came in San Antonio against Gregg Popovich and the well-oiled machine known as the Spurs. The Knicks lost the game 120-111, but they were close to stealing the game after a strong third quarter that was capped off by a buzzer-beating layup from Barrett to make the game 84-83. Unfortunately, the Spurs would use a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to ultimately pull away.
It may have only been one game, but the Knicks rookie showed just how fearless he is and how dangerous he can be in the open court.
“I told you,” New York coach David Fizdale said. “When the popcorn’s popping, that kid is ready.”
We already knew Barrett had the mentality to go into these kinds of matchups with confidence, so to see him produce right away against a veteran team just adds to the hype Knicks fans feel for the rookie out of Duke. The Knicks also got strong contributions from their starting frontcourt. Julius Randle had 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists on 10-for-18 shooting and Marcus Morris Sr. posted 26 points on three made 3-pointers.
The biggest storyline surrounding this matchup is undoubtedly the Irving/Durant decision to play for the Nets, but Barrett being good right away is very much in play and should not be ignored.
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup
The Brooklyn Nets played in arguably the most entertaining of the 11-game slate on Wednesday (sorry Hornets and Bulls fans), but 50 points from Irving and an entertaining game doesn’t matter if you lose.
The Nets are looking to bounce back against a division rival who isn’t expected to make the postseason, while the Nets are.
A lot has been made of Irving’s 50-point explosion, and rightfully so, but Caris Levert–a legitimate candidate for the Most-Improved Player award–had a terrific game himself. Levert scored 20 points on 47 percent shooting along with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. That all-around production is exactly what the Nets are hoping for this season from the fourth-year wing out of Michigan. Without Durant, Levert will be relied on to provide secondary scoring and playmaking alongside Irving.
Irving will hear a lot of cheering as he did on opening night, but he can expect a lot of boos from Knicks fans who were sure Irving would join their team.
“The job wasn’t done. So that 50 just goes into another few numbers that–it holds value, but really…when you don’t get a win,” Irving said after the offensive show he put on for the home crowd.
Irving is known as a player who plays well under pressure, so the expectation is that he will put on another strong performance. Maybe he won’t knock down seven 3-pointers again, but I’m sure he won’t care as long as his team comes away the victor.
Key Player Matchups
RJ Barrett vs. Joe Harris
Barrett slates in as the starting shooting guard, despite some saying he might be best-suited as a small forward. Nonetheless, he is the best option out of everyone in the Knicks starting 5 to chase Harris around screens. It will be a challenge, but Barrett possesses the physical strength to get through those screens. The problem will be, does he expend too much energy running through picks that he doesn’t have enough stamina to produce on the other end of the court?
Mitchell Robinson vs. Jarrett Allen
Robinson is listed as a game-time decision, but I really hope he plays. This matchup has the makings of a true block-fest. Mitchell missed the opener but he’s coming off a rookie season in which he started just 19 games, averaged 20.6 minutes per contest, but blocked 2.4 shots per game. On the other side, Allen played in the first game of the season, blocked five shots and is coming off a season in which he averaged 8.4 rebounds per game and 1.5 blocks per game.
Julius Randle vs. Rodions Kurucs
Kurucs is listed as the starting power forward so chances are he’ll start off on Randle. That could spell trouble for Kurucs who weighs in at 227 pounds. Randle is a bull, he plays with force, and he plays with that force every second he is on the court. The other Nets on the court will have to help Kurucs, and help Allen’s rotations are going to have to be swift in order to minimize the damage Randle will do on the interior.
Kyrie Irving and Julius Randle are your two top-tier picks for tonight’s matchup. Irving is available for $9.7k on FanDuel and has a projection of 47.2 fantasy points. Irving brings the obvious scoring punch, and he’s matching up against a Knicks team that is not only expected to be a poor defensive team but has yet to decide on a de-facto starting point guard. Randle is always a safe fantasy pick, his style of play lends itself to a lot of counting stats. He’s available for $8.8k on FanDuel and is projected to for 44 fantasy points.
Look out for Bobby Portis. The forward is going for only $5.2k on FanDuel and is projected for 37.6 fantasy points. If Mitchell Robinson ends up missing the game Portis will get plenty of minutes, and Portis is always good for points and rebounds.
Bet on Matchup
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