Nets vs. Knicks preview: Carmelo Anthony will play in third game against Nets

Bruce Bennett

The third meeting of the season between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks takes the rivalry to Madison Square Garden, and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will play.

Beaten and battered, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets haven't gotten a go at one another while completely healthy.

Knicks point guard Jason Kidd, the former member of the New Jersey Nets, sat out the first meeting with back spasms before hitting the go-ahead three-pointer in the teams' second game. Meanwhile, Brooklyn center Brook Lopez missed the second game of the season series with a sprained foot after scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 boards in the initial clash that needed overtime to be decided.

Carmelo Anthony is expected to play in Wednesday's third meeting between the Knicks and Nets after sitting out two games with an ankle injury, but Knicks teammate Steve Novak has been ruled out with flu-like symptoms. With the teams at 100 percent or not, the third Battle of the Boroughs finally makes its way to Madison Square Garden after Brooklyn hosted the first two games in the Barclays Center.

Despite it being the third meeting in less than a month, don't expect the rivalry to become mundane.

Although Lopez is back for the Nets, it hasn't helped them regain traction as head coach Avery Johnson's name has begun to appear on hot-seat lists. Brooklyn has lost its last two and seven of the last nine games after starting the season 11-4.

Anthony's status won't make things easier for a desperate Brooklyn team.

The Knicks missed the MVP-caliber play from Anthony the past two games. After injuring himself last Thursday against the Lakers, New York needed clutch free throws down the stretch to snatch a 103-102 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday and then fell 109-96 to the Houston Rockets on Monday in Jeremy Lin's return to New York.

Efficiency isn't a common approach to describing Anthony's game, but he's recalibrated his talent and melded it with efficiency in the 2012-13 season thus far. Last season, he was fond of the long two-pointer, a risky shot as is and without the potential reward of an extra point that comes with shooting it beyond the arc, writes the New York Times' Justin Kubatko. Forty-four percent of Anthony's shots from at least 16 feet out were threes compared to 56 percent of long twos. This season, Anthony is taking 57 percent of his shots from 16 feet out from beyond the arc and just 43 percent from two-point range.

The Knicks will surely appreciate that boost tonight.

Time: 7 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

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