Thank goodness that January is finally over. The Brooklyn Nets finished off the first month of 2017 at an abysmal 1-15 mark. They capped off the terrible month with a 104-96 loss against the Miami Heat in South Beach Monday night for their sixth straight loss.
Luckily for them, they return home at the start of a new month to face cross-town rival, the New York Knicks. The Knicks have a respectable 21-28 record this year, but this team is in disarray. Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony have a different view on the franchise and there have been serious trade talks involving Carmelo Anthony leaving the Knicks. The Knicks simply do not have much of a direction and things are slowly falling apart since Jackson joined the team.
In short, Brooklyn can very easily win this game, especially since the Knicks are coming off of a quadruple overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night. Anthony had himself a good game scoring 45 points to silence the haters for the time being.
Stopping Carmelo and forcing him into tough shots will be a key to the game. Melo has had issues hitting shots at times this season and it only gets worse when he gets frustrated. Get Melo frustrated and play him tight.
The next key is to prevent Kristaps Porzingis from finding his stroke. The Latvian has really improved since the beginning of last season as an NBA player. He can play down low and he has a pretty darn good outside shot. Brook Lopez and Kristaps will surely be going back and forth on the scoring end of things.
All in all, Brooklyn is coming home at the start of a new month with a great opportunity to snap their losing streak and start to get things back on track. The All-Star break is on the horizon and it would be wonderful to head into the break with some sort of momentum.