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The First Quarter

December 4th 2016

Both New York area basketball teams have played just about a quarter of their season thus far. The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets have both played 19-games. The Knicks have a record of 10-9 while the Nets are 5-14. Let’s take a look at how both teams have performed thus far and what they may need to improve moving forward in the 2016-2017 NBA season.


Let’s start with the Knicks; the marquee team in New York came into this season with great expectations. They added Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee during the offseason while keeping some of their familiar faces, most notably Carmelo Anthony and sophomore sensation Kristaps Porzingis.


The Knicks have played well, however they have been inconsistent at times both defensively and offensively. They have played especially well at Madison Square Garden where they are 8-3 and will need to continue to protect the home court during the season. Melo has been Melo. Carmelo Anthony continues to lead the Knicks on the offensive end of the floor; he has also seemed to improve his role as the leader of the team. He is not holding the ball as much and more players are getting more touches and bigger roles in the offense.


Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Photo Credit: Getty Images (2)

Porzingis has definitely benefitted from this as he has improved in almost every offensive statistical category in his second professional season. The “Unicorn,” “Zinger,” or whatever nickname he is referred as, has truly impressed the fans and the rest of the NBA in his young career. He has become quite an interesting topic when the league’s big men are being discussed, especially for the things he can do at his size.


The Knicks gambled with the addition of Derrick Rose and it has seemingly been a good bet. Rose will never be the MVP type player he once was however his role as the point guard for the Knicks has been one that he has relished. Rose has had quite a few dazzling plays that remind us of what he can do on the basketball court. He had a 30-point outburst against the OKC Thunder and Russell Westbrook, but what he has done to the Knicks roster is given them a legitimate NBA point guard, one that they have been lacking for quite a few seasons. He controls the offense and is able to get everyone to the right spots while also being able to create on his own.


Kyle O’Quinn is having a productive season. Photo Credit: ELSA Getty Images

Also impressing some eyes is the play of a few other Knicks, Brandon Jennings with his tenacity of the floor, Justin Holiday with his confidence and Mindaugas Kuzminskas who has been playing comfortably in the offense recently. An honorable mention goes out to Queens native Kyle O’Quinn, he has been filling in well for Joakim Noah and when he’s on the court he is always active and plays with passion, he had a big game against the Minnesota Timberwolves when he had 20-points and 13 rebounds while matching up with Karl-Anthony Towns.


The Knicks are currently on a two game winning streak with back-to-back wins against the Timberwolves. The Knicks have to become more consistent defensively if they are to make the playoffs and perform well. They are ranked 23rd in the league while offensively they are 15th. Consistency is the key for this team moving forward. They are set to face off against the Sacramento Kings today at Madison Square Garden.


As we hop on the 2-train and head over to Brooklyn we make a stop at Atlantic Terminal-Barclays Center and take a look at the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are 5-14 and are currently coming off back-to-back losses to the Milwaukee Bucks.


Coming into the season most felt that this was a team in transition and thus far they have looked like it. The Nets have no problem scoring however they are allowing opponents to score 114-points per contest, this will not help their chances at picking up wins. Like the Knicks the Nets have to play better defensively.


Recently the Nets have been without Jeremy Lin, their biggest offseason acquisition, due to a hamstring injury and they have struggled. Rookie guard Isaiah Whitehead has been playing well however he has much to learn at the professional level.


Brook Lopez. Photo Credit: Kim Klement USA Today Sports

Book Lopez has been one of the better big men in the league for quite some time however because of the Nets’ recent struggles he sometimes gets overlooked. Brook has discovered how to shoot from the perimeter, most notably from behind the arc; this however is a double-edged sword. The Nets are successful when Brook is aggressive in the paint, while shooting 3’s adds a new dimension to his game it also takes away from his strengths. New head coach Kenny Atkinson loves a faster paced offensive rhythm and many wondered how Lopez would adapt coming into the season especially since he was played sparingly during the preseason.


The Nets Achilles heal thus far has been their play in the 3rd quarter. They come out with a lack of energy then have to rally late to stay in games. They must also find a way to change this trend.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes)

Sean Kilpatrick (Photo Credit: Barry Holmes)

One bright spot for the Nets has been the play of  Sean Kilpatrick. In his second season in Brooklyn he has really shown that he belongs in this league. He played 23 games last year and has played every game for the Nets this season. He is averaging 16ppg and  has shown that he can play in big moments. He often leads the Nets comeback attempts, especially in the second half of games. He had 38-points against the Clippers, 22 against the Kings and 23 against the Boston Celtics, just to highlight a few.


For the Nets to turn this around early they will have to play consistent basketball on the defensive end while also remaining competitive. Jeremy Lin should return soon and the Nets have to continue to run the offense through Brook Lopez.

Both New York teams have a long season ahead of them, this is just the beginning, lets see how they can do moving forward. Stay tuned.

Thank You for reading.

Sherman Gomez is a Staff Writer for PureSportsNY

Follow on Twitter: sherman@shermangmz1


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