Nets at Knicks
Carmelo Anthony has torched the Brooklyn Nets this season and looks to do so again on Monday when the New York Knicks play on Martin Luther King Day for the 14th consecutive year. Anthony is averaging 37 points in three games against Brooklyn this season, including a 45-point effort on Dec. 11. The All-Star forward has scored 20 or more points in 25 consecutive games. Brooklyn is two games behind New York in the Atlanta Division.
The Nets have won eight of their last nine games and have played solidly under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo. Brooklyn has a splendid 10-2 mark since Carlesimo replaced fired Avery Johnson. The Nets need a victory for a season split with the Knicks. New York is back on the mainland after beating the Toronto Raptors in London. The Knicks have won back-to-back contests following a stretch in which they lost five of seven games. New York is 14-5 at home.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), MSG (New York), NBATV
ABOUT THE NETS (24-16): With the rivalry heating up now that the franchise is in Brooklyn, the Nets highly covet a victory over the Knicks to prevent losing the season series. “We’ve got to go in there with the mind-frame that we understand it’s going to be a hostile environment and some way, somehow we’ve got to come out of there on top,” guard Joe Johnson said. “They beat us the last two times and we owe them.” Point guard Deron Williams has made 47 consecutive free throws and forward Reggie Evans grabbed 20 rebounds in Friday’s 94-89 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Evans’ season-best is 23 rebounds.
ABOUT THE KNICKS (25-13): Explosive reserve J.R. Smith has been in a three-game funk since a splendid stretch in which he averaged 24 points over a 10-game stretch. Smith is just 13-of-43 shooting and averaging 12.3 points during the slump and scored just eight points in one of the games for his first single-digit outing since Dec. 2. Smith has been one of the top backups in the NBA all season with a 16.7 average. He is averaging 13.3 points in the three games against Brooklyn.
1. Anthony scored 31 points when the Knicks beat the Nets at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 19.
2. New York is 12-5 when C Tyson Chandler records a double-double.
3. Brooklyn is averaging 101.5 points in Carlesimo’s 12 games after averaging 94.5 in 28 games under Johnson.