Dec 11, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) drives past Brooklyn Nets small forward Gerald Wallace (45) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Crosstown Rivals: New York Knicks Vs Brooklyn Nets Preview


Dec 19, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) and Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) tip off at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

For the final time this season, the Knicks and Nets will square off in a blockbuster clash, this time on Martin Luther King Day. While New York have won the previous two encounters, Brooklyn have been playing effective basketball as of late. With the Nets closing in on top spot in the Atlantic Division, the result of this matchup could be significant down the road.

Playing their first game since returning from London a few days ago, the Knicks will try to record their third consecutive win when they step back onto Madison Square Garden. The Nets have won eight out of their last nine games and a statement win on Monday afternoon in enemy territory would be impressive to say the least.

Key player for the Knicks

Carmelo Anthony’s going to get his usual 25 points, but the real difference in this game will be center Tyson Chandler. Defending Brook Lopez is Chandler’s main assignment, though he’ll also be required on the offensive end, creating second shot opportunities as he’s done all season.

Dec 23, 2012; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guards Deron Williams (8), Keith Bogans (10), and center Brook Lopez (11) celebrate against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at the Barclays Center. The Nets won the game 95-92. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Key player for the Nets

After a disappointing first two months of the season, Deron Williams has improved his play under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo. With Raymond Felton out until late in the week, Williams needs to take advantage of the matchup with Kidd and lead the Nets to a important win.

Prediction

Brooklyn will continue their recent good form and get a victory in the Big Apple. Expect Williams to play a prominent role and notch up a double-double. Also watch for Reggie Evans to provide crucial minutes off the bench and give the Nets an advantage in the rebounding column.

Nets 97-91

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