Knicks vs. Nets (Pre-Season Game 2) Preview

In their second of two pre-season games, the Knicks will today take on the New Jersey Nets in their final outing before the big Christmas day game against the Boston Celtics. The game comes after a 9-point Knicks victory last time round, with Iman Shumpert and, surprisingly, Renaldo Balkman leading the way for New York.

This game will hopefully act as more of a dress rehearsal for the real thing on Sunday, with more of the stars getting extended playing time. It will be interesting to see whether or not D’Antoni will give us a taste of the full opening day rotation and whether or not there are any surprising changes (Shumpert over Fields?). We can expect to see Toney Douglas out there a lot, in an attempt to help him build chemistry with the starting unit, something he struggled with in the playoffs.

The Nets should be throwing new signing Shawne Williams and the newly-resigned Kris Humphries out there, giving Chandler and Amar’e slightly more to worry about in the paint. The pair still have nothing on Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett, who will be the likely inside combo on opening day against the Knicks. A dominant offensive and defensive performance in the paint should be in play today to set the tone for the upcoming season.

It will also be interesting to see if our bench is actually for real.

As mentioned, Shumpert and Balkman were great the first time round but we will need them to be consistent contributors in order to be successful. We won’t be seeing Baron Davis, who should be out for around a month, but there is the possibility of seeing more of Jerome Jordan, who, again, will be important down the stretch. It appears that, so far, Steve Novak hasn’t made it to New York as promised, so we can only hope the deal goes through before opening day. With a few more days of training camp, it would be nice to see Mike Bibby making more of a contribution to the team off the bench, because at the moment there isn’t a stand-out scorer in the unit.

A Knicks victory can again be expected but more important than the result will be the performance and the chemistry shown. For their first real game at the newly-developed Madison Square Garden, the ‘Bockers need to get it right. There will be no second-chance before the real action comes.