In their previous two meetings this season, it was the Nets who emerged victorious with a 116-109 win on January 14 and a 117-112 triumph on March 16.
As good as they were in those two contests, the Brooklyn Nets might be even better with the probable return of Kevin Durant. The 11-time All-Star has missed the last 22 games with a hamstring strain. If he doesn’t play versus the New York Knicks, Durant could make his comeback in one of the Nets’ upcoming games this week.
The New York Knicks, on the other hand, halted a three-game losing streak with a 125-81 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. Julius Randle led the team in scoring once more with a 29-point performance in 30 minutes. They will enter Monday's contest with a 25-25 record (seventh in the East), while the Brooklyn Nets have a 34-16 mark (second).
New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets - Prediction
The Brooklyn Nets are hoping that either Kevin Durant or James Harden will be available for Monday’s game. However, if both are out, the New York Knicks are going to take advantage of their opponents' lack of firepower.
The Knicks are fourth in the league defensively and will have an easier time guarding their opponents if only one of their three All-Stars can play.
As good as LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin were in the previous game for the Brooklyn Nets, they are far from the players they used to be. Expect the New York Knicks to win on their opponents' home floor.
If healthy, the Brooklyn Nets are the better team. However, the New York Knicks are very good at stopping opponents in their tracks.
New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets - Combined 5
Point Guard - Kyrie Irving l Shooting Guard - RJ Barrett l Small Forward - Joe Harris l Power Forward - Julius Randle l Center - LaMarcus Aldridge
The Brooklyn Nets have a slim chance of fielding their Big Three for the first time in more than a month. That could change the complexion of this combined lineup. The most probable scenario is that Kyrie Irving will be the only one available from the trio.
Irving takes our point guard position. The seven-time All-Star is averaging career-highs with 27.7 points and 51.3 percent field goal shooting while also contributing 5.0 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He has been in and out of the Brooklyn Nets lineup for various reasons. When he is around, very few are better, especially on the open floor.
At shooting guard is the New York Knicks’ RJ Barrett, who has improved as the season has progressed. He has been averaging 17.2 points a game this campaign. Though he has struggled in three of the past four games, he had a 13-game stretch prior, where he scored 21.3 points per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three.
Our small forward is Joe Harris. He's the more dangerous shooter than the New York Knicks' Reggie Bullock. The Brooklyn Nets’ sharpshooting wing is the league’s third-leading three-point shooter with a 48.5 percent average for the year. Very few players are more reliable at sticking the three on an opponent than Harris, who fires away from beyond the arc at a rate of 6.8 per game while making 3.3 of them.
The power forward position is undeniably Julius Randle’s to lose. The New York Knicks All-Star has been racking up career-highs in almost every statistical category, including three major stats with 23.0 points, 10.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He has improved his range as well, making 41.6 percent from three-point land this year, which is the best he’s ever shot from deep.
Finally, our center of choice is the newly acquired LaMarcus Aldridge of the Brooklyn Nets. Discarded by the San Antonio Spurs, the Nets acquired him in the buyout market after he cleared waivers.
The big man has plenty of game left and showed it in his two appearances for the Nets. In his debut game, he had 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 29 minutes of playing time.