Nets, Knicks tangle in pivotal Eastern Conference showdown
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets have what the New York Knicks are hoping to capture in the near future and that is a playoff berth.
The Nets and Knicks tangle Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in a battle between Atlantic Division rivals.
Brooklyn clinched a postseason berth with Tuesday's 105-96 victory over the Houston Rockets at Barclays Center, where Joe Johnson pumped in 32 points on 13-of-21 shooting and Shaun Livingston added 17 points.
"He is by far the guy that's been the most consistent this season," Nets head coach Jason Kidd said of Johnson.
Deron Williams had 12 points and six assists for the Nets, who have won 14 in a row at home and shot 53 percent from the field. The Nets have scored 100 or more points in nine straight games.
Brooklyn is in the playoffs for a second straight season and has won three straight and 14 of the last 18 games. The Nets are 30-12 since the start of January and sit 1 1/2 games behind Toronto and Chicago for the third spot in the Eastern Conference. They're 1 1/2 games behind Toronto in the Atlantic.
The Nets have lost two straight and three of four road games, and have a 14-22 record outside of Brooklyn.
New York is back home for two games and completed a successful five-game western swing with a 3-2 mark.
The Knicks recorded a 92-83 triumph in Utah on Monday thanks to Carmelo Anthony's 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Tyson Chandler scored 15 points, J.R. Smith added 13 and Raymond Felton chipped in 12 and six assists for the Knicks, winners in 11 of the last 14 games.
"This was a very important win for us tonight," Anthony said. "Just to bounce back from last night and to gain some momentum and build on that momentum, and build on that win."
New York is just a game in back of Atlanta for the final postseason spot in the East with seven to play.
The Knicks are 16-21 at MSG and will also host Washington on this brief stay. In injury news, guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. (ankle) is doubtful Wednesday and center Amare Stoudemire (knees) is listed as probable.
New York and Brooklyn have split two games this season with each team prevailing as the guest. The two Atlantic Division foes have split the past 12 encounters at Madison Square Garden.
04/02 10:17:41 ET