Despite slow starts for both teams, basketball just might be the hottest thing in New York as cold weather blankets the entire United States. Since the New Year, the Knicks and Nets have combined to go 7-1, despite starting the season a combined 10-43.
The Nets have been on a four game winning streak that continued as they put an end to the 10-game run that the Warriors were on. That streak has been good enough to sneak them into the eight spot in the East as they rapidly close in on teams ahead of them like Charlotte and Chicago. Part of the recent successes for the Nets has been the play of Joe Johnson, who scored 27 points against Golden State. Before Brooklyn fans get too excited, they’ll have to wait to hear back on how long Derron Williams is expected to be out. Williams had finally returned after the New Year, but sprained his ankle and missed the last two games.
The four-game streak that the Nets are currently on is already the 17th such streak for the NBA this year. The Nuggets also find themselves on a four-game streak after they beat Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
As for the Knicks, they were able to knock off the Heat on Thursday night, 102-92. Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and 8 rebounds and Andrea Bargnani pitched in with 19 points of his own. The most compelling story of the game was the fact that JR Smith was sat for the entire game after his recent antics of untying players shoes at the free throw line. That stunt was enough to get him fined by the commissioner and has also resulted in potential trade talks to unload the tumultuous player. Nonetheless, the win, and the current streak their on, has been a big boost for the Knicks. They still find themselves a game out of the last place spot in the playoffs, but their three game winning streak is currently tied for the second longest in the East.
Although they both had rough starts, the New Year could be exactly what the Knicks and Nets needed.
For the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony proved during his time in Denver that he doesn’t need much around him to win games. So if he can get the occasional input from Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire or Raymond Felton, that could be enough assistance to help the Knicks win games.
And the core of the Nets, which includes Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Johnson, should be enough to keep winning in the East. After all, it won’t even take a .500 record to make the playoffs in the East come May.
Both of these teams have something to offer. And if they can figure out how to make it all fit, they could be a nightmare for teams in the coming months. And for those that want to bet in their favor, now could be the time to get some surprises in their upcoming games.