NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 5th (All times Eastern)
New York Knicks (3-13) at Brooklyn Nets (5-13), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets had high expectations for this season, but so far both squads have disappointed.
Thursday's showdown between the Knicks and Nets at Barclays Center was an anticipated matchup when the schedule came out and now seems like an ordinary game.
The Knicks have lost nine a row and are just 3-13, while Brooklyn has dropped eight of 10 games for a 5-13 record. Both the Knicks and Nets are battling to stay out of the basement in the Atlantic Division. Actually, the Knicks are three games off the division lead and Brooklyn sits two back.
"I just want to win, man," Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said. "I don't care about me having a big night. I want to win. I think that should be the mindset for everybody. Is it an important game for us? Yeah. Let's be quite frank about that. We are playing Brooklyn in their arena, one of our rivals, and we want to win."
Anthony then said he wants to have a big game and that the team as a whole should have the same mentality. Anthony, the NBA's reigning leading scorer, is second in the league with 26.3 points per game and will see a familiar face on the opposing side in Nets head coach Jason Kidd. Kidd and Anthony were teammates last season in New York.
"We have to get used to it," Anthony said of seeing Kidd. "I'm still getting used to it because just a couple of months ago he had a uniform on with us. To see him in a suit now coaching ... trying to get used to that."
A reporter told Anthony that Kidd was asked about Thursday's battle between the Knicks and Nets and responded, "we both stink right now."
"We do. He wasn't lying about that. I mean we do," Anthony said with a smile. "For us we have to figure it out and try to turn it around ASAP. We have to play with some more energy, some more effort."
Anthony, who has led the Knicks in scoring in all 16 games, also said, "we are the laughing stock of the league right now."
New York suffered its ninth straight loss in Sunday's 103-99 decision versus the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony netted 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points off the bench and Andrea Bargnani chipped in 17 and seven rebounds for the Knicks, who are on the longest losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from Jan. 28 - Feb. 13, 2006.
"Until we are able to take pride in guarding the ball, there are going to be nights like this," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "We needed some stops and we couldn't get them."
J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton scored 12 points apiece for the Knicks, who haven't won since Nov. 13 at Atlanta. Smith is probable Thursday because of a sore left knee and is averaging 11.7 points per game.
The Knicks hope to stop a five-game road losing streak and are just 2-6 away from Madison Square Garden this season.
Brooklyn is coming off Tuesday's 111-87 loss to the Denver Nuggets and is still without guards Deron Williams (ankle) and Jason Terry (knee), and forwards Paul Pierce (hand) and Andrei Kirilenko (back). Through 18 games this season, the Nets have lost a total of 41 games due to injury.
Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche scored 22 and 15 points, respectively, for the Nets, while Brook Lopez and Tyshawn Taylor each finished with 12.
"We sometimes can't put the ball in the basket and we stop playing on the other end," Kidd said after Brooklyn's fifth straight loss at home.
The Nets are 2-5 at Barclays Center this season.
Johnson has scored 20 or more points in four of his last six games, averaging 21.0 ppg in that time, and is four assists shy of 4,000 in his career.
Kidd, meanwhile, made some news when he reassigned assistant coach Lawrence Frank to a lesser role. Kidd cited "different philosophies" for the switch.
Brooklyn and New York will play the first of four matchups this season and split four games in 2012-13. The Knicks are 11-5 in the last 16 meetings with the Nets and have won four of five as the guest in this series.
Anthony averaged 35.0 ppg in four games against Brooklyn last season. Williams, who is doubtful for Thursday, posted an average of 16.0 points and 11.5 assists in last season's series (4 games).
12/05 10:25:05 ET