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Playoff-Bound Nets Visit Cross-River Rival Knicks

Eastern Conference Coach of the Month Jason Kidd will look to guide his Brooklyn Nets past their cross-river rivals, the New York Knicks, when the two sides meet at Madison  Square Garden on Wednesday.

Eastern Conference Coach of the Month Jason Kidd will look to guide his Brooklyn Nets past their cross-river rivals, the New York Knicks, when the two meet at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Having secured a playoff berth on Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets will look to take another step to improving its postseason standing Wednesday with a visit to the New York Knicks for the next installment of the Battle of the Boroughs.

Tip-off at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

Brooklyn (40-33, 14-22 road) earned a franchise-best 14th consecutive win Tuesday night, defeating the Houston Rockets 105-96 at Barclays Center.

In addition to setting a new record for home wins, the statement victory also guaranteed the Nets a trip to the postseason. Now, with nine games left on the schedule, Jason Kidd’s side will make one last ditch effort to climb into the No. 3 or No. 4 berth and secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Make no bones about it; home-court advantage could be huge for the Nets who, while having recorded a 26-11 record at Barclays Center, are just 14-22 on the road this season. Even during the team’s recent purple patch – the Nets have gone 30-12 since January 2 – road wins have been hard to come by; the Nets are 6-9 away from home during that same stretch. The Nets would do well to have an extra home game come the first round.

Catching the Toronto Raptors and/or Chicago Bulls will be a tough task though. The Raptors in particularly have a comfortable run in. After games against the Rockets and Indiana Pacers this week, the Raptors will face six remaining games, all against opponents they have yet to lose to. That’s right, the Raptors are 13-0 against their last five opponents (they play the Knicks twice). The Bulls meanwhile face just one team with a winning record over their last eight games.

While earning a top four finish looks unlikely, Brooklyn still has a fighting chance, but it will need to win on the road down the stretch. Five of the team’s last nine are on the road, starting with Wednesday night’s game in Manhattan.

The Nets earned a 103-80 win in their last trip to Madison Square Garden and will be hoping for a similar result when they take to the hardwood on Wednesday. They’d also love to put a huge dent in the Knicks’ playoff hopes.

New York (32-43, 16-21 home) enters the game fighting for its playoff life.

With just seven games left on the docket, the Knicks are embroiled in a death race with the Atlanta Hawks (32-41) and Cleveland Cavaliers (30-45) for the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed. Of those three teams, the Knicks – facing seven teams that are playoff bound in every remaining game – have the toughest run in, one of the reasons we picked the Hawks to finish with a playoff berth.

Losing on Wednesday would almost be enough to sound the death knell for Mike Woodson’s side, but a win would bring with it a confidence that could see the Knicks sneak into that final berth.

The Knicks have been playing their best basketball of late. A 92-83 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday marked an 11th win in 14 games, but that will amount to nothing if the team cannot find wins during this nightmarish final stretch.

Right now, Carmelo Anthony and Co. needs to be focused on defeating their rivals from across the East River.

But the Nets will arrive on 32nd Street well prepared.

Head coach Jason Kidd was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for March on Tuesday, marking the second time he has taken home the award during his rookie coaching campaign. His presence on the Nets’ sideline, or more so his absence from the Knicks’ lineup, has provided plenty of ink in papers and online this week, and now he’ll look to earn a second win over his former club. His counterpart, Woodson, may well be playing for his job, although there are plenty that believe his days at the helm are numbered.

With storylines everywhere, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the injury list is busy ahead of this one. The Knicks are coping with long term injuries to Andrea Bargnani (elbow) and Kenyon Martin (ankle) while rookie Tim Hardaway, Jr. (ankle) is listed as day-to-day. The Nets are without Kevin Garnett (back) and Brook Lopez (foot), the latter being done for the year. Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) is also listed as day-to-day.

Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks odds for 04/02/2014

New York (-140) opened as the favorite over Brooklyn (+120) when the moneyline was released, which is enough to get bettors salivating. Just which team is the King of New York right now?

The Knicks have taken nine of the last 13 head-to-head meetings between the teams but Brooklyn’s waiting to play spoiler here. The Nets are 14-7 in their last 21 trips to Madison Square Garden, a stretch that dates back to when the franchise was based on the other side of the Hudson.

The spread opened at 2.5 as the bookmakers expect a close game.

Brooklyn (40-33-0 ATS) has been much better against the spread this season than New York (33-42-0 ATS) but both teams have fared well lately.

The Knicks are 9-5-0 ATS in their last 14 games, including three wins against the spread in four games. The Nets meanwhile have covered in three straight and have gone 28-14-0 ATS since January 2.

The Nets are 4-2-0 ATS in their last six head-to-head meetings with the Knicks, and covered the last time the sides met at Madison Square Garden.

The total opened at 199 and has already dropped to 196

Both Brooklyn (38-33-2) and New York (42-33-0) have favored the over this season. But things are generally a lot tighter when the two teams square off.

The under has paid out in seven of the last 10 head-to-head matchups, and five straight between the two sides in Manhattan.

The Nets will host the Knicks at Barclays Center next Tuesday (Apr. 15) in the final game of this season’s head-to-head matchup.

For a full list of today’s NBA odds, click here.

For the latest NBA futures odds, click here.

For the latest NBA team prop bets, click here.

For the latest NBA player prop bets, click here.

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