Where Brooklyn at? On November 26, the Brooklyn Nets hosted the New York Knicks and took care of business with a 96-89 overtime win. Not only does the win establish themselves as a threat to the New York stranglehold that Knicks currently hold over the boroughs, but also a legitimate threat to the Atlantic division crown. Although it may be early in the season, it is always interesting to think about this possible scenario: Who presents a bigger threat to the Celtics?
The easy way would be to look at the lineups. Brooklyn is sporting two All-Star guards in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, averaging 31.9 points and 12.5 assists a game, provide problems for any team. Against the Celtics, and a smaller backcourt of Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, it gives the Nets a possibility of going with a big lineup. Toss in the fact the Nets are a + 51 this season when Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries are on the floor together. Although they play the slowest pace in the league, they are averaging 108.1 points per 100 possessions. A simpler way to say they know how to score points. Although Boston has been known for their defense, the stats haven’t really backed up that statement. The season may be short but the Celtics have given up an average of 100.07 points a game, ninth worst in the league. Not really reminiscent of the lockdown Celtic defense’s of the past few years.
When you cross the bridge over to Manhattan, you come across a Knicks team that ranks fourth in the league in effective field percentage. Most of it comes from the terrific 3-point shooting from Carmelo Anthony, J.R.Smith and Jason Kidd, who is averaging 50 percent from behind the arc, nothing close to his 42 percentage career high. The Knicks will come back down to earth in terms of shooting but what has helped the Knicks to a 9-4 record is their ability to hang on to the ball. Currently first in the league, the Knicks have committed the fewest turnovers this season, with an average of 11.4 per game. This is all with A’mare Stoudemire recovering from injury. Will things change when he comes back? Will Carmelo Anthony willing go back to the small forward position? I’ll answer that right away, yes.
Given the way these two teams are playing, both are threats to beating the Celtics in a seven-game series. When given the choice, Brooklyn would give Celtics more fits on the offensive end and on the offensive glass. The Knicks do love to shoot the three but the Celtics are one of the top ten teams in the league defending the 3. The rebounding has been killer for Boston and Humphries is a rebounding machine. With questions surrounding the Knicks, in terms of Stoudemire’s return and how that will change the team, I’ll give the edge to Brooklyn, for now, but it’s extremely close. A matchup against either NYC team would provide plenty of fun but in the meantime, let’s enjoy these two teams battle for the heart of the city.