NBA pick for Friday – December 4th

New York Knicks – Brooklyn Nets

Everyone loves derbies. They add something extra to any league. Some color, something to look forward to. Even when your team is doing badly and is struggling, you can always say “but we won the derby” – we are the best team in the city. Many fans, prefer their team to finish a spot or two lower in the table, but win their derby rival than the other way around.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that NBA is not a regular league. This is the closest sport to WWE there is. I’m not talking about all the fixing claims and so on (I’m neutral on the subject and don’t want to go down that rabbit hole). I’m talking about focusing on putting on a show. Lost a game? Not a big deal. There is always the next game and usually within the next 48 hours (and many times in less than 24 hours).
Still, there is something special about NYK derby and lately, there is a start of rivalry between Bulls and Bucks (both are about 40 minutes drive from each other), between LAL and LAC, Houston derbies and so on…
Small quote from Wiki if I may:
“Since buying the Nets in 2010, Mikhail Prokhorov has taken frequent jabs at the Knicks and their ownership. He has stated that he wishes to “turn Knicks fans into Nets fans” [13] when the team relocates, and that he was happy the Nets caused the Knicks to “overpay” for Carmelo Anthony (by increasing their own offers in the “Carmelo Sweepstakes”).[14] Both sides have begun marketing in earnest throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, often proclaiming they are the sole “team of the borough” with billboards displaying their newly acquired superstars, Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams.[15] One of the first moves of Prokhorov’s ownership of the Nets in 2010 was to purchase a large 225′ by 99′ painted billboard, featuring himself, then Nets part-owner Jay-Z and the words “Blueprint for Greatness” on the side of a building at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue facing Madison Square Garden, home of the Knicks.[16] The Knicks responded to the Nets’ marketing push with a television commercial stating, “You can walk like us, you can talk like us, but you ain’t never gonna be like us.” This prompted Prokhorov to respond: “I think we’d more like to be like the Lakers [winners of 16 NBA championships].”[17] Marty Markowitz, the former borough president of Brooklyn, has derisively called the Knicks the “Manhattan Knicks” and claimed that any Brooklynite who supported the Knicks was committing “treason”.[18]

The trash talking between the two teams, including personal insults such as the 6-foot-8 Prokhorov calling Knicks owner James Dolan “that little man”, [19] reached a point where NBA commissioner David Stern felt the need to arrange a meeting between Knicks owner James Dolan and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov to lessen the tensions between the two.[20]”

After that not so short swaying off topic, I would like to get back on the topic. Nets won all four games last season and they were pretty happy about it. This is their first game of the season between them and Knicks obviously considered to be the better team at the moment. Nets have 5 – 13 record, while Knicks have 9 – 10 record and really want to get back to that 50%. Nets covered 10 out of their last 11 games (!!!), but record wise, they went 5 – 6 during that time.
Knicks been struggling a bit recently, after great start, losing four in a row, before winning over the Suns.
Nets will live and die by Brook Lopez. He gets help from Jack, JJ and Young, but he is their best star player. Best scorer by far, second best rebounder (trailing by 0.1 rebounds to Young), best blocker by far (2.2 a game) and second in minutes played (second to JJ by 0.2 minute). If NY derby wasn’t enough, how about brothers Lopez derby? Robin admitted that one of the reasons he chose the Knicks, was his brother Brook, who lives in NY as well. Robin was always the better defender of the two (but that’s really not that hard, since Brook is a huge hole on defense) and tonight he will guard a player that he knows very well, his brother Brook.
On top of that, if Robin needs help, Porzingis will come to the rescue. There is a lot of talk about how team that has their defense focused on protecting the paint, gives up so many points there, but still, Knicks are above average in that department and since JJ in his age and Robin, live mostly on post ups and live 5 – 6 feet from the basket mostly, Nets lives will be hard tonight.
I rate Porzingis/ Lopez duo only slightly below Young/Lopez duo and once you get past that, Knicks really have the upper hand. Calderon, Afflalo and Carmelo are better than both Jarrett Jack and Joe Johnson (the JJ brothers) and Hollins-Jefferson (that really doesn’t get enough credit – one of the better rookies of his draft and maybe the best defender that came out of this draft).
Nets are 9th in league (the lower the better), in allowing rival to block them. Knicks are 9th in the league in blocks.
Knicks are one place ahead of Nets in rebounds, so really, if you expect Nets dominance under the rims, you better think again.
Nets are better in passing the ball, getting more assists and fewer turnovers, but no team that is based on Carmelo, will ever excel in one of two areas, but it’s mostly Carmelo factor and not the rest of the players (though Afflalo likes to get stack in bad iso and do dumb things with the ball).
I don’t like to write a lot, because it takes a lot of time and that means… that you have to read a lot, so bigger chance you will skip everything and just go to the pick itself.
So won’t torture you much further.
Knicks -3, 1,93 odds – 7 units play

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