The Brooklyn Nets have been one of the early surprises in the NBA and they will try to stay hot when they travel cross-town to Madison Square Garden to meet the New York Knicks on Friday. Winners of a total of 41 games over the last two seasons, the Nets opened what many thought would be another difficult campaign with a loss, but they’ve rebounded with three wins in four games.
The latest was the most impressive, a 112-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. “Obviously they’re Eastern Conference champions just about every year — or actually every year — and then either win the Finals or don’t obviously,” guard Spencer Dinwiddie told reporters after making a go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing minute. “And for us to pull out a win and be able to close them out obviously after they made their run and to be able to respond, I think it just of kind of brings a young group a little bit closer together and kind of shows us that we can do it and hopefully propels us going forward.” The Knicks dropped their first three games and two of them were lopsided defeats. Star forward Kristaps Porzingis was 3-for-14 from the floor and New York produced just 33 first-half points in a 110-89 loss at Boston on Tuesday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE NETS (3-2): Dinwiddie finished with 22 points and six assists while providing a big boost to a backcourt that has already lost Jeremy Lin (knee) for the season and was without D’Angelo Russell (knee) on Wednesday. Russell, who is averaging a team-high 23 points, is considered day-to-day. Forward DeMarre Carroll scored at least 17 points in four straight games and is shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range.
ABOUT THE KNICKS (0-3): Center Enes Kanter has been a bright spot in the early going and notched his second straight double-double (16 points, 19 rebounds) in the loss to the Celtics. Tim Hardaway Jr. shot 2-for-11 and rookie Frank Ntilikina missed his second straight game with an ankle injury that has him questionable for Friday night. “We’re trying to develop him,” coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters of Ntilikina. “When he doesn’t have the injuries, he’s a smart kid that really comes up and you tell him once and he’s got the plays. He’s got to battle through these little nagging injuries he has right now, but we want him to get back as soon as possible so he can play.”
1. The Nets lead the league in scoring (121.2 points per game) and the Knicks are last (93.3).
2. New York C Willy Hernangomez has made 7-of-9 shots this season.
3. The teams split four meetings last season.
PREDICTION: Nets 111, Knicks 105