Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New York Knicks vs. New Jersey Nets Pre-Game News and Notes April 18

Wednesday April 18th 7:30 P.M. ET
New York Knicks vs. New Jersey Nets

After a great win last night against the Boston Celtics on national television, the Knicks get right back at it tonight with a quick turnaround against the New Jersey Nets.  The Knicks currently sit 3 ½ games behind Boston for the Atlantic Division title and lead the Philadelphia 76ers by 1 game for 7th place.  This will be the 3rd meeting between the Knicks and Nets, with each team winning one so far this season.  This will also be the last time the Knicks visit New Jersey, as the Nets are prepared to move to Brooklyn for the start of next season.  Everything is lining up for this to be a trap game for the Knicks, so they have to come out strong from the start and put away the Nets.

-Avoid Complacency

Coming off a big victory like last night for the Knicks, it is common for teams to come out flat in their next game.  This is especially true when the next opponent is one that should be easily handled, which is the situation the Knicks are in tonight.  They have to avoid coming out flat and not give the Nets any confidence.  The Nets are eliminated from playoff contention so this game is exponentially more important for the Knicks.  This game will not be a cake walk as the Nets are not going to back down to the Knicks.  Putting them away early will be beneficial for the Knicks because if they let the Nets hang around till the end the result may not be what Knick fans are hoping for.

Carmelo Anthony has become a leader on both ends of the court since Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin went down with injuries.  It will fall on his shoulders to make sure the team comes out ready to play with energy and intensity. 

-Injury Updates

The Knicks now have another person re-added to the injury list.  Baron Davis was under the weather and tweaked his hamstring in the game against the Celtics last night.  Davis was limited to just 18 minutes last night because of the various ailments.  He also had to cut short his morning shoot around because of a knee problem.  This is something to keep an eye on because the Knicks are deathly thin at PG with Jeremy Lin going down injured and Mike Woodson not having confidence in Toney Douglas.  Look for Bibby to get ample opportunities to shine again tonight. 

Jared Jeffries will again be on a minutes limit tonight and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.  He is returning from a knee injury which has plagued him all season.  The Knicks can afford to rest him for spots now, but come playoff time they will need his defensive expertise to succeed.

The Nets are not unscathed when it comes to the injury front.  Superstar Point Guard Deron Williams was announced out for tonight’s game last night because of a strained calf.  It is the same calf injury that cost Williams 4 games in March.  Sundiata Gaines is expected to start in place of Williams. 

-Defensive Intensity

With the Nets playing without their best player in Deron Williams it is setting up for the Knicks to come out flat because they under-estimate the opposition.  That is a terrible mindset to have and will destroy the Knicks if that is indeed how they come out.  Instead the Knicks need to turn up the defensive pressure even more and rattle all the players that will be moving up in the rotation because of the injuries. 

The Nets can not be taken lightly though as they still have dangerous players.  Recently the Nets have sported three starters who have been explosive on the offensive end in Gerald Green, MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries.  They are playing as if they are still in the playoff race and cannot be taken lightly.  It will take another top notch defensive effort from the Knicks to slow down those three and the rest of the Nets.  

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