Knicks gearing up for rivalry matchup with Nets

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks
Jan 9, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives to the basket in front of Milwaukee Bucks guard Jevon Carter (5) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks pulled off two consecutive upset victories this week and will be looking for their third on Saturday when they take on the Brooklyn Nets on the road.

This will be the second time these two teams will have played each other this season, with the first being a 112-85 blowout loss for the Knicks.

The rivalry game will be broadcasted nationally on ABC, the second of three consecutive nationally televised games for the Knicks.

The Knicks are looking to continue their winning ways:

Prior to their previous two victories, the Knicks had lost four consecutive games and also saw their defensive anchor, Mitchell Robinson, go down with a thumb injury that required surgery.

For a majority of the season, the theme has been streaks for the Knicks, both good and bad. For now, they would like to have another long winning streak to help catapult themselves into playoff position.

As for Brooklyn, they have begun to trend backward after dominating the league throughout December and the early parts of January.

Since losing superstar forward Kevin Durant to an injury, the Nets have gone just 2-6 and have dropped games to bottom-tier opponents such as the Thunder, Spurs, and Pistons. They have also fallen to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference standings.

Despite the Knicks having the advantage in this one with it being on the road and Durant out, they will still have to deal with Brooklyn’s second superstar, Kyrie Irving.

Irving, averaging 27/5/5 this season, has been remarkably good since Durant went down, averaging 32/5/7 while shooting 48.8% from the field and 41.5% from downtown over that span.

Stopping him will be far from an easy task, but the Knicks have proven over these past few games that they are capable of preventing opposing superstars from taking them out of games, and they will hope that they can do the same with Irving on Saturday.

Julius Randle has put up otherworldly performances over the past couple of months, including a 37-point masterclass against the top-dog Celtics in their previous game. Another big game from the All-Star candidate would be instrumental in getting the Knicks another big win.

Looking at injuries, Robinson (thumb surgery) is out for the Knicks. For the Nets, Durant (MCL sprain) is out, while Ben Simmons (left knee soreness) and TJ Warren (knee contusion) are both listed as questionable.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_

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