The New York Knicks got off to a great start this season and are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Brooklyn Nets struggled out of the gate and saw head coach Avery Johnson get fired. They have bounced back under the direction of new coach P.J. Carlesimo and are now putting pressure on the Knicks in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Knicks will enter play on Monday just one game behind the Miami Heat for the East lead. They have won two straight but are just 5-5 over their last 10 games. The Knicks are playing without their starting point guard Raymond Felton, who is out with a finger injury but could return later this week. Carmelo Anthony is enjoying what could be his finest season, averaging a career-high 29.2 points per game.
Brooklyn began the season 14-14 but are 10-2 under Carlesimo. They have climbed to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings, three games back of East-leading Miami and just two back of the Knicks. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson get a lot of the ink when it comes to the Nets, but perhaps it is Brook Lopez who has had the biggest impact this season.
Lopez is leading the team in scoring at 18.6 per game while shooting 52 percent from the field. His 7.3 rebounds per game is second on the team and he averages 2.1 blocks per game.
Brooklyn won the first match-up at the Barclays Center but the Knicks have won two straight including a 100-86 win at Madison Square Garden.
After a somewhat slow start to the season, Deron Williams has played much better of late. The Knicks recently got back Iman Shumpert from injury and he will likely play a big part defensively as New York tries to slow down the Nets backcourt.
Tip off from Madison Square Garden is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on NBATV. The Knicks are favored by 5.5 points.