Who Ya Got Wednesday: New York Jets at New England Patriots

John Franklin-Myers, jets

Can the New York Jets kick off their post-bye slate on the right note? ESM’s experts of green endeavors share their thoughts.

  • What: New York Jets (1-4) @ New England Patriots (2-4)
  • Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
  • When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
  • Watch: CBS
zach wilson, jets

Geoff Magliocchetti

Though one of the quieter games of a relatively sparse NFL Sunday (six teams are taking Week 6 off), Sunday’s AFC East divisional showdown between the Jets and Patriots showcase (an admittedly uglier case of) the unstoppable force meeting an immoveable object trope.

The Jets are coming out of a bye hoping to cling to the momentum of a decent second half against Atlanta in London, one that would’ve been flawless from a defensive perspective if not for a crucial touchdown drive allowed in the dying stages. Their hosts, the developing New England Patriots, have a prime opportunity to feast: they sandwiched an unfashionable win over the lowly Texans with highly respectable losing efforts against the NFC’s finest (Tampa Bay and Dallas). It’s certainly not the heights fans of the Flying Elvises are used to after they were spoiled by Tom Brady and Co. for nearly two decades, but it’s a sign that the franchise is heading in the right direction after last season’s meandering 7-9 effort.

Whether it’s fair or not, both the Jets and Patriots’ progress in their respective rebuilds, embarked upon under the supervision of a Western New York overlord, is going to be judged solely upon the performances of their rookie quarterbacks. Zach Wilson has shown flashes of brilliance but the British-based effort against the Falcons was undoubtedly a step backward. Mac Jones, on the other hand, has steadily improved with each passing (pun intended) week. The results have yet to make themselves known in the win column, but the proof is in the pudding of freshman statistics: the Alabama alum has found familiar footing, as he’s the top-ranked first-year passer in completion rate, yardage, rating, and touchdown passes. Turnovers have been a problem, but the Jets (the only team in the NFL without an interception) have done little to inspire the idea that they’re capable of forcing consistent, momentum-shifting turnovers.

There will be plenty of opportunities for the Jets to grow as they resume play after their week off. But there still isn’t a lot of evidence that they’re ready to compete with the middling Patriots. Despite a resilient defensive effort, they were soundly beaten by three possessions in the MetLife Stadium portion of the yearly series. The Foxboro affair should be closer…surely Wilson can’t throw four first-half interceptions again…but the Patriots have only gotten better since that September showdown.

The Patriots’ stranglehold of supremacy over their rivalry with the Jets is one of the final remnants of their dynasty; as they slowly mount a march toward another, don’t expect that to dissipate.

Patriots 27, Jets 16

John Franklin-Myers, jets

Dylan Price

This week the Jets travel to New England for their second matchup with the Patriots. The Patriots are coming off a tightly contested battle against the Cowboys this past weekend, one that ended in a heartbreaking overtime defeat. Mac Jones played a good game against America’s team going 15-for-21 for 229 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Jones made some sloppy plays, but that’s to be expected from a rookie thrower. The killer for the Patriots was Bill Belichick getting outcoached by Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys: Belichick was too reluctant to take chances and called too conservative of a game, calls that ultimately cost his team a high-profile win.

Meanwhile, the Jets are coming off a bye and remain 1-4, but the team went into its week off on a sour note: Just when everything was thought to be clicking after Week 4 win over Tennessee, they lost in London to the Falcons.

These are two teams looking to regain some semblance of momentum. In the last meeting, Belichick had Zach Wilson looking like Nathan Peterman. I think Wilson performs better after having extra time to prepare, and the defense likely does well. But the Patriots will likely still force the Jets to shoot themselves in the foot, so I reluctantly go with New England to win this one.

Patriots 23, Jets 10

michael carter, jets

Brendan Carpenter

The Jets have had more than enough time to decompress from their subpar trip to London as they’re coming off of a bye week. They now have to travel to Foxboro to face the Patriots for the second time this season.

This could be a game where both offenses struggle and the defenses prevail. The Patriots don’t have an explosive offense and the Jets offense is…inconsistent, to say the least. To their credit, the unit has been playing somewhat better over their past few games.

If neither offense gets in a groove early, this is going to be a tight, low-scoring game. If that’s the case, homefield will play a large enough role for the Patriots to sweep the season series, no matter how much it pains me to say.

Patriots 17, Jets 14

Best of the Rest

Denver @ Cleveland (Thu.)BroncosBroncosBroncos
Atlanta @ MiamiFalconsDolphinsFalcons
Carolina @ NY GiantsPanthersPanthersPanthers
Cincinnati @ BaltimoreRavensRavensBengals
Kansas City @ TennesseeChiefsChiefsChiefs
Washington @ Green BayPackersPackersPackers
Detroit @ LA RamsRamsRamsRams
Philadelphia @ Las VegasRaidersRaidersRaiders
Chicago @ Tampa BayBuccaneersBuccaneersBuccaneers
Houston @ ArizonaCardinalsCardinalsCardinals
Indianapolis @ San FranciscoColts49ersColts
New Orleans @ Seattle (Mon.)SaintsSaintsSaints
Last Week11-310-47-7

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
Dylan Price is on Twitter @dylanprice27
Brendan Carpenter is on Twitter @brendan_carp

New York Giants: Eli Manning to have number retired by Ole Miss

Eli Manning, New York Giants

Retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has had an eventful past year.

After spending some time outside of the public eye, Manning has become more of a celebrity presence recently through new ventures such as his gig as an ESPN broadcaster. He was also honored by the Giants this season, as the team retired his number 10 jersey at halftime against the Falcons.

It looks like the Ole Miss Rebels, Manning’s college team, are taking after the Giants in that regard. The school is set to use Saturday’s game as a chance to honor Manning in their own way and retire his jersey.

The festivities also include a peculiar change to the field design. Ole Miss has shown off pictures of the updated field, which reads ‘MANNING’ across both end zones.

During Manning’s time as a Rebel, he threw for 10,119 passing yards and 81 touchdowns. Impressively, basically all of those numbers came from three seasons, as Manning only had 33 passing attempts during his freshman year.

Interestingly enough, Eli may not be the last Manning to take the field for Ole Miss. His nephew Arch Manning is a five star recruit and arguably the top player in his recruiting class. Arch’s list of potential destinations includes multiple blue bloods such as Alabama and Clemson, but Ole Miss is also a contender.

Arch Manning is set to attend when Ole Miss takes on LSU. We’ll just have to wait and see if having his last name written in the end zone is enough to sway his decision in the direction that Ole Miss fans are hoping for.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers seems defeated as playing time decreases

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are once again near the bottom of the NFL. At 1-5, things look dire for the Big Apple’s blue team. Not only are Giants fans feeling defeated, but seemingly the players are, too. Safety Jabrill Peppers seemed visibly and vocally defeated after practice today.

Jabrill Peppers: “I just want to win”

In 2019, the New York Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr to the Cleveland Browns. One of the big pieces they got in return was safety Jabrill Peppers. Since then, Peppers has established himself as one of the team’s leaders, earning a captain’s patch two years in a row.

In 2020, Jabrill Peppers put together a career year for the Giants. He totaled 91 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Jabrill was the focal point of New York’s defense. He played 88% of the team’s defensive snaps last season. So far this year, Jabrill Peppers’s playing time has been reduced significantly. Peppers has only been on the field for 61% of the Giants’ snaps in 2021.

Seeing his role reduced to that of a fringe starter/backup is puzzling for Jabrill Peppers, and also defeating. The New York Giants look like they cannot even buy a win some weeks, getting blown out each of their last two games. Peppers is a player that has been brought up in trade rumors in the past, and after his comments today, it seems like a strong possibility that the Giants ship Jabrill off to a new team.

When asked if he still wants to be on the Giants, Jabrill Peppers responded with: “I just want to win, baby.” Not exactly a confident answer from Jabrill. It seems like the safety’s future with the Giants is in question.

Jabrill Peppers’s answers in today’s media session were short. He seemed visibly and vocally upset. The New York Giants will need to turn things around and start winning some games if they want to keep their safety around for the long run. If not, then Jabrill Peppers could be making his way to a new team.

Knicks lose Taj Gibson for opener, full steam ahead with Mitchell Robinson

new york knicks, rj barrett

With the New York Knicks preparing to take on the Boston Celtics in the home opener of the 2021–22 season, they will be without two veteran centers in Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson. Noel has been battling a sore left knee for the past few weeks, and his absence was expected to provide Mitchell Robinson with an excellent opportunity to earn solid minutes as he rehabilitates from a fractured foot.

Gibson, on the other hand, was forced out of the contests due to personal reasons, meaning the Knicks will have to supplement his loss with a potential dual power forward combination including Julius Randle and Obi Toppin. Alternatively, they do have Jericho Sims on the active roster, so he could earn minutes in his rookie season after signing a two-way contract.

Gibson has been preparing for any situation he’s required to perform in, indicating that Tom Thibodeau has coached him to be versatile.

“The moment I came into the league, Thibs has always had me in different situation,” said Gibson, who is entering his 13th NBA season. “He’s always prepared me for starting, coming off the bench. He didn’t want me to just be a guy floating. He always told me to have my head on a swivel, always be ready, always be professional and work will handle the rest.

Gibson was solid during preseason play, posting 21 points against the Detroit Pistons, activating his shooting prowess, and showing off a new element to his game. The veteran continues to surprise, injecting energy and leadership on the court whatever he’s called upon.

However, the team will rely on Robinson against Boston after he played in 27 minutes in the preseason finale against the Washington Wizards. Robinson found himself gassed at some points due to a lack of stamina, but getting him involved early should help him return to his old ways in due time.

UFC Vegas 41: Paulo Costa announces he won’t make weight

The UFC Vegas 41 main event is in a very interesting spot at the moment. Today was media day for all of the fighters and some interesting things were shared. Before getting into some of the comments, let’s rewind to just past midnight when Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) took to Twitter.

The Italian middleweight tweeted that Costa was looking for a way out of the fight. An interesting tweet that had a lot of people scratching their heads. Today, we learned a little more insight into the context of Vettori’s tweet.

Paulo Costa (13-1) took to the podium today and announced that he would not be making weight for this week’s main event. Worth noting that Costa has competed at middleweight for several years and in his last fight, he fought for the UFC middleweight title and made 185 pounds.

Costa told the media that he’s currently weighing 211 pounds just two days away from the weigh ins. The former title challenger said that he’s in favor of a catchweight fight. He said, “Maybe we can do a catchweight at 195 pounds.”

The UFC’s Options

Paulo Costa is starting to become a headache for Dana White and the UFC. This all dates back to last year when Costa had his title shot against Israel Adesanya. Prior to the Adesanya fight, Costa was looked at as a guy who does nothing but walk you down while throwing heat.

Well, he was incredibly tentative in the Adesanya fight and barely landed any strikes before getting stopped in the second round. After the fight, Costa made a number of excuses including saying that he lost because he drank too much wine the night before UFC 253.

Then, Costa agreed to face Jared Cannonier in August. However, that fight was scrapped after Costa came out and said that he wasn’t thrilled with the UFC’s financial offer to him. Dana White quickly pointed out that after his last fight and his excuses that he was in no position to demand anything.

Now, there’s this issue with the weight. The contract from day one for UFC Vegas 41 stated that this was a middleweight fight and now it sounds like Costa will not even come close to that. This will definitely be something to monitor over the coming days.

Bellator books Sergio Pettis – Kyoji Horiguchi

Bellator has booked a massive title fight for their bantamweight division. The promotion took to the Morning Kombat show today to announce that they had finalized a bantamweight title fight between Sergio Pettis (21-5) and Kyoji Horiguchi (29-3) for December 3rd.

This matchup will pair the Bellator champion (Pettis) against the RIZIN champion (Horiguchi). Many will recall that Horiguchi was the Bellator bantamweight champion as well when he defeated Darrion Caldwell back in 2019.

At that time, Horiguchi was already the RIZIN champion and the win over Caldwell gave him two championships. The two promotions had agreed to do a co-promotion with Horiguchi holding both titles.

However, after Horiguchi got hurt, Bellator moved on with crowning a new bantamweight champion. Juan Archuleta became the champion before ultimately losing the Bellator title to Sergio Pettis earlier this year.

Horiguchi had lost the RIZIN championship in his last fight of 2019. He returned in December of 2020 and avenged that loss while winning back that title. Now, he’s going to try and win back the Bellator title that he never lost.

Bellator vs RIZIN

Sergio Pettis has really taken off after leaving the UFC. Pettis was always touted for his skill and potential but never reached the top of the mountain in the UFC. That said, he was still able to defeat some of the best inside the octagon.

After becoming a free agent, Bellator signed Pettis to an exclusive deal. Since joining the promotion, he’s gone 3-0. The highlight of that stretch came at Bellator 258 when he took on Juan Archuleta for the bantamweight championship.

The two had a good fight, but Pettis was getting the better of things throughout. Ultimately, Pettis scored a decision win to become bantamweight champion. Now, he’s going to have his chance to defeat Horiguchi who never lost his title with Bellator.

New-look Knicks offense will be tested against Celtics’ switching defense

kemba walker, knicks

All eyes will be on Kemba Walker on Wednesday night as he makes his official New York Knicks debut against his old team Boston Celtics at 7:30 pm.

An expected raucous, sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd will be on hand to witness the opening of one of the most anticipated seasons in Knicks history coming off a playoff run.

Walker has a chip on his shoulder after the Celtics dealt him to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a future pick in the offseason before finding his way to New York via a contract buyout.

“Does it matter [that I’ll be facing the Celtics in my Knicks debut]? Of course. It’s my old team,” Walker said after Tuesday’s practice. “But I don’t go into any game thinking I want to lose. So, I definitely want to win. Does it make it that much better than it’s my old team? Yeah, no question.”

Walker, alongside another former Celtic Evan Fournier, will add another layer to the Knicks offense, which heavily relied on Julius Randle’s shot creation and playmaking in the past.

While Walker (39.3 FG%, 29.4 3P%) and Fournier (38.5% FG, 30 3P%) groped for form as they tried to fit in, the Knicks’ new-look offense looked good in the preseason. In their undefeated preseason run heading into Wednesday’s home opener, the Knicks landed second in offensive rating (113.4) buoyed by their spiked three-point shot volume.

Derrick Rose harped that they are targeting to jump from 30 per game (27th in the league last season) to 37-40 attempts. They were above their target with 41 attempts, sixth in the league during the preseason, and hit 38.4 percent of them, which landed in the top three.

New Celtics coach Ime Udoka has taken notice of the Knicks’ new-look offense. Walker’s mastery of the pick and roll and Fournier’s off-the-bounce game have made the Knicks more unpredictable on offense despite the newcomers’ shooting struggles.

“We’re really recognizing that in the preseason, they’re playing with tremendous pace,” Udoka said after Monday’s practice. “I think that’s a league-wide thing but the Knicks are really good up and down pushing with their guards, hunting threes in transition, playing fast, and looking to shoot the three a lot.”

The Knicks, who played with the slowest pace (96.32) last season, played faster in the preseason (102.50).

Whereas the Knicks have been picking up their new-look offense a lot quicker based on their 4-0 preseason result, the Celtics are adjusting to Udoka’s coaching a little bit slower as they went 2-2 in the preseason, splitting their games against Orlando, picking up a close win against Toronto and losing in double-digits to Miami.

Udoka, who previously worked for the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets as defensive coordinator, is switching up everything on defense. He wants the Celtics to prevent dribble penetration and minimize help defense by keeping the ball in front of the defense. It’s a significant change from Brad Steven’s drop coverage, where the defensive bigs were responsible for containing dribble penetration off screens while teammates recover their defensive position.

The Celtics’ switching defense will be a good test to the Knicks’ new-look offense, which now enjoys multiple shot creators off the dribble with the addition of Walker and Fournier to ease the burden on Randle.

On defense, the Knicks will focus on slowing down the Celtics’ two rising stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum is back at health after a bout with COVID-19 last season. Brown will be playing his first game back from health and safety protocols after experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms.

RJ Barrett, who is embracing the role of the Knicks’ designated wing stopper, will have his hands full against Tatum. But Thibodeau, a defensive genius, will not put the defensive pressure squarely on Barrett’s broad shoulders. His defense relies on the Knicks playing like a string.

“Defensively, they are who they are and they’re gonna play extremely aggressive and hard and deny elbow catches and be physical,” Udoka said. “So, that doesn’t change regardless of who their roster is but offensively, I noticed some different things like they’re playing with a faster pace and shooting more threes. And so we prepare for that.”

With Al Horford still out due to COVID-19, Thibodeau might give his small-ball lineup another run in select minutes to give the returning Mitchell Robinson some breather. The Randle-Obi Toppin frontcourt was a plus-14 against the Wizards that sparked their comeback. But there’s still the ever-reliable Taj Gibson who will likely be matched up against former Knick Enes Kanter in the second unit.

The Knicks bench, led by Derrick Rose, will be Thibodeau’s trump card in this match.

But when push comes to shove, a Cardiac Kemba moment in the Garden could be in the offing.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Yankees: Yankees get thrown a “dog bone” and more news

Carlos Correa, Houston Astros, yankees

With the ALCS and NLCS in full swing, there is not much in the way of shocking New York Yankees news this early in the offseason from the boys from the Bronx. But don’t let that fool you; the wheels are turning in the front off trying to find ways to return the Yankees into a championship team for the 2022 season. So here is some news that may tantalize.

Red Sox throw the Yankees a “dog bone”

Most analysts thought the Boston Red Sox would be back in the dumper again this year after a lousy season last year. But, to the surprise of all, newly rehired Alex Cora brought the team to new heights that culminated in beating the New York Yankees in the one-game winner-take-all wild-card game.

Now in a strange statement from a Boston Red Sox executive, the Red Sox are praising the Yankees for being so consistent from year to year. Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox’s CEO, and president said yesterday when talking to the New York Post:

“We do admire the Yankees in many ways. I started my career there [as an intern]. John Henry started as an investor. So I learned a lot from my time there. John learned a lot from his time. What Randy [Levine] and Hal [Steinbrenner] and Brian Cashman have done is nothing short of remarkable. They’re consistently competitive, and that’s incredibly impressive.

“It’s why we hate them so much in Boston.”

Cashman takes responsibility while rehiring Aaron Boone

By now, it’s relatively old news that manager Aaron Boone has been rehired as the New York Yankees skipper, at least for the next three years. In a somewhat confusing press conference, Cashman announced the return of Aaron Boone, but the news conference seemed to be more about him than Boone. Cashman’s contract is up at the end of the 2022 season.

In the conference, he didn’t do much to give Yankee fans a look at a better future for the team; instead, he created more questions than answers. He reverted to his season-long praise of Boone and reiterated that the players underperformed. He also said if there is anyone to blame, it is he. While both Boone and Cashman have praised the championship team the Yankees, are, the deny what Yankee fans are seeing right in front of their eyes.

Although Cashman seemed to take responsibility for what went wrong, he basically denied everything the Yankees did wrong and put the best face on it from the other side of his mouth. For example, at one point, he said about Boone:

“Aaron Boone was part of the solution and wasn’t the problem. If he was entering the free-agent market, I believe he’d be the #1 managerial candidate in baseball. He’s been a good hire.”

That statement, among others, left a whole lot of New York Yankee fans scratching their collective heads. He also said that Boone was easy to work with and had an open mind (willing to accept orders).

What will the Yankees do to solve the shortstop problem?

The New York Yankees don’t have a legitimate shortstop. Even the front office has now admitted that is a glaring problem that must be solved before the start of the 2022 season. The big question is, what will they do to solve that problem?

There are tons of shortstops going into free agency at the end of the World Series, but will the Yankees find the right fit or continue as they have will fill-ins, moving players around? Or will they wait for up-and-coming farm hands, like Anthony Volpe, and sign a rental for 2022?

Getting back to the shortstops available this offseason, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez represent a variety of costs for the Yankees. The writer believes the Yankees should bite the bullet, hire a sure thing, and stop betting on stopgap measures to solve the teams’ problems. One such acquisition would be Carlos Correa, a proven shortstop with pop. Correa is 27 years old, has a .279 batting average this year with 26 home runs, and is an excellent defender at short. He also has plenty of postseason experience. In the past five years, he has batted .280 with 18 home runs. Oh, and by the way, he has indicated that he would love to play in New York. What more could the Yankees want?

Yankees face injury problems as off-season set to commence: Taillon, Hicks, Voit

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees made a controversial decision to sign manager Aaron Boone to a three-year extension after his deal expired at the end of the 2021 season. General manager Brian Cashman indicated that the team still needs to solve a few spots, including a shortstop position which they hoped Gleyber Torres would fill long-term.

However, some of their current players are still dealing with injury, but most are hopeful to return by spring training and prepare for the start of the 2022 regular season.

To start, starting pitcher Jameson Taillon will have surgery on October 28, commencing a five-month recovery, which would conclude in March. Taillon had a rocky first season with New York, posting a 4.30 ERA, 8.73 strikeouts per nine, and career-high 2.74 walks per nine. His ground ball rate of 33.2% was a career-low, but he did show signs of flash and quality, which is why the Yankees traded for him in the first place.

With a year under his belt wearing the pinstripes, the expectation is that he will bounce back stronger in his second season with the team. Taillon was on a one-year, $2.25 million deal this past season, indicating the Bombers will have to go through arbitration or settle on a reasonable contract.

Starting centerfielder Aaron Hicks, on the other hand, is headed into the fourth season of a seven-year, $70 million deal he signed back in 2019. Hicks has been injured for two of those seasons and is expected to earn $10.8 million this upcoming year. The hope is that Hicks will be playing winter ball and preparing for next season after featuring in just 32 games and hitting .194 with four homers and 14 RBIs.

Slugger Luke Voit also battled injury throughout the 2021 campaign, but he expects to be ready for spring training after dealing with knee issues for the majority of the season. After leading the MLB in home runs during an abbreviated 2020 campaign, Voit played in just 68 games this past season, earning a .239 average with 11 homers and 35 RBIs. It was clear his knee issue was hurting him significantly, as he logged a career-high 30.7% strike-out rate.

Knicks News: Mitchell Robinson could get start, 3 keys to victory

mitchell robinson, knicks

It is game day for the New York Knicks as they prepare to take on the Boston Celtics in the season opener at 7:30 PM. However, the team expects to be without center Nerlens Noel, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal this off-season to provide insurance for Mitchell Robinson, who is coming off a fractured foot from last year.

With Noel expected to miss the game, the expectation was that veteran Taj Gibson would start in his place, as Robinson only experienced one preseason game to get his feet underneath him. Nonetheless, head coach Tom Thibodeau presented the idea that Mitch could start ahead of Gibson after impressing in his first action.

“I’m not sure yet, I want to see where Mitch is and hopefully Mitch will be ready and Taj is always ready,’’ Thibodeau said. “Whatever we ask of him — to start or come off the bench or be situational. That’s the great value in Taj. Mitch is really coming on, so we’re very pleased with his progress.”

In Robinson’s first preseason outing, he played in 27 minutes, scoring six points and picking up nine rebounds. It will take him a bit of time to recover his stamina, but the old Mitch is undoubtedly there with added muscle mass, presenting a fantastic option in the lob game.

3 keys to victory for the Knicks

1.) Limit Jayson Tatum

First thing is first, stopping Jayson Tatum is essential for the Knicks if they want to extract a victory to open the year. Tatum has made two consecutive All-Star appearances, posting 26.4 points, 4.3 assists, 7.4 rebounds, and shooting nearly 39% from three-point range last season. He’s a bonafide superstar, and if the Knicks can throw him off his game early on, they can pull away with a nice cushion.

Featuring one of the league’s best defenses last year, if they can replicate that standard and efficiency, it will be difficult for teams to take down New York, given their offensive additions this off-season.

2.) Shoot over 39% from 3-PT range

When the Knicks are shooting well, they are a tough team to beat. The Knicks ranked third last season in three-point percentage at 39.2 but landed at 27th in attempts with 30 per game.

Thibodeau is keen on improving their attempts but not taking overzealous shots with low-efficiency rates. He wants to get good looks from specific spots on the court, specifically the corner for RJ Barrett, and allow Kemba and Fournier to create opportunities on their own.

If they can come out shooting well and connecting on the three-ball, the Knicks will have a massive advantage in earning their first victory of the season.

3.) Limit turnovers in critical moments

Basketball is a game of momentum, and key turnovers can be the difference between winning and losing games. For the Brooklyn Nets, that ended up being a significant factor in their defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. James Harden turned the ball over four times, including late in the game when they had an opportunity to make a come-back down 10 points with about eight minutes left.

Julius Randle has had issues in that category, turning the ball over 3.4 times last season. However, the first time All-Star worked diligently on his handling this off-season, hopefully allowing him to cut down on the turnovers and give his team more opportunities to score and maintain momentum.