This doesn’t figure to be a vintage year in the Big Apple, not where the NBA is concerned at any rate.
It’s a new start for both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets. Or at least, another one for both in the latest line of rebuilding projects that never seem to go anywhere except in a circle.
The noisy neighbours face off for the first time this season tonight at the Barclays Center with neither off to an auspicious start.
The Nets, under new coach Lionel Hollins, are 2-2 but are being hampered rather than helped by the return of Brook Lopez after 11 months on the sidelines with a foot injury.
The All Star has been struggling mightily, shooting poorly, getting pushed around and appearing a poor shadow of his imperious best.
It puts more emphasis on the Nets guards with Deron Williams 1.85 to go for more than 17.5 points, precisely his season average to date. But with the Knicks likely to be without Pablo Prigioni, as well as Jose Calderon, that could give a Brooklyn team already scoring 103.5 per game extra fuel on the perimeter.
Their rivals’ problems are simpler to address. They just need time under rookie coach Derek Fisher, or so they hope, with New York toiling to get to grips with the triangle offense imposed by Phil Jackson.
In consecutive losses, the difficulty factor in learning the system has been clear. The Knicks are putting up just 89.8 points per night and although they get JR Smith back after suspension, they look nowhere like a playoff team once again.
At 2.85 to win, they aren’t bad value but Brooklyn look the least worst of the pair. And even with defences in disarray generally, expect the Nets to come out on top.
Best bet: Go over the total points line of 196.5 in Brooklyn-New York at 2.50