The Nets have taken three shots at beating the Knicks and have missed each time. They would really like to avoid going 0-for-4.
Their final shot at winning a game in the season series against their rivals comes Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Nets haven’t been swept by the Knicks since the 2010-11 season.
“We don’t want to get swept by anybody,” said Quincy Acy, who has worked on both sides of the rivalry. “So we’re going to come out with intensity.”
They’re also going to come out shorthanded.
Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson each will miss his second straight game with a groin issue. After Monday’s practice at the HSS Training Center, coach Kenny Atkinson indicated that this is a precautionary move with LeVert and said Hollis-Jefferson will be reevaluated after sitting out “a couple of games.”
The Nets (18-32), who have dropped their last three, and the Knicks (22-28) are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. The rivalry doesn’t shine quite as brightly when the teams are struggling.
“I think obviously, just like with any other rivalry, it depends on how the individual season is going, especially for these ballclubs because they’ve been pretty down for a while,” Spencer Dinwiddie said.
“But there’s definitely a different energy when we’re playing each other, whether that be at MSG or Barclays. New York shows up . . . and brings great energy to the arena. We just have to try to get a win, really.”
The Nets lost Chapter 1 at the Garden, 107-86, Chapter 2 at Barclays, 111-104, and Chapter 3 in Brooklyn, 119-104.
“I think obviously they present a different matchup for us, a very different style, because they’re a very big team,” Dinwiddie said. “They crash the glass. Make it tough on you inside. I don’t think we’ve shot the ball particularly well against them.
“We have to pick up the physicality and the focus on the defensive end and rebounding, just an overall hit-first mentality. But then, also, we do have to hit shots because obviously their size is not something that’s going to go away overnight.”
Jahlil Okafor has the size that could help. The 6-11 center/forward is coming off his best game since being acquired from Philadelphia last month, Saturday’s 21-point outing off the bench at Minnesota.
“I definitely think I can be effective against those guys, especially being a bigger body,” Okafor said. “But that’s up to Coach. He likes to play small ball at times, and it has worked for us.”
Atkinson said it depends on how the game is going, but he added, “The Knicks could be a good matchup for him with their front line.”