No matter what side of the Knicks-Nets rivalry they're on, New York fans have felt a level of frustration during a disappointing season with the clubs being guided by interim coaches and occupying two of the last four spots in the Eastern Conference.
Neither team followed through on a trade at the deadline, but the Nets hope the hiring of new general manager Sean Marks provides them with the necessary leader needed to make future adjustments to a roster badly in need of some.
The Knicks still believe they're in the playoff hunt and look to snap a six-game losing streak Friday night in Brooklyn.
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New York (23-32) has lost 10 of 11 while dropping to 12th in the East, five games back of the final playoff spot. President of basketball operations Phil Jackson fired coach Derek Fisher on Feb. 8 before the Knicks lost 111-108 the next night to Washington in Kurt Rambis' debut prior to the All-Star break.
Rumors swirled that Jackson might've been looking to deal Carmelo Anthony before Thursday's deadline, but he stood pat despite the slump.
“I'm putting the onus on them that we need to keep getting better,” Rambis said. “We have talented players. We need those guys playing really hard, really focused and together.”
Anthony had 33 points and 13 rebounds against the Wizards while Kristaps Porzingis scored 20, but the Knicks again dug themselves an early hole and couldn't rally.
They've been behind after the first quarter in each of their last four, including three times by double digits. Rambis and Anthony said New York needs to be more engaged at the start if it wants to make the postseason for the first time in three years.
“Getting a win in Brooklyn coming off the break would get us off to a good start,” Anthony said. “It's going to be challenging, but we believe that we can (make the playoffs). We just have to win some games and we'd be right there.”
The Nets (14-40) don't share those playoff aspirations and are trudging through their remaining schedule under Tony Brown after Lionel Hollins was fired Jan. 10. Owner Mikhail Prokhorov reassigned general manager Billy King within the organization that same day and targeted Marks as his replacement.
Marks was introduced Thursday with no moves being made before the deadline. He joins the Nets after spending the last two years as the assistant general manager for San Antonio.
“I look forward to the challenge of creating a unified culture and building a winning team,'' Marks said.
That certainly won't happen overnight. Brooklyn hasn't won back-to-back games since early December and failed to do so again before the break, falling 109-90 to Memphis at home Feb. 10. Joe Johnson was held scoreless, ending the NBA's longest active streak of 937 games with at least one made field goal.
“Second half of the season, want to get some of our younger players quality minutes (while) always trying to win,” Brown said.
The Nets have won five of the last six meetings, including three in a row at Barclays Center. Brooklyn overcame a career high-tying 31 points from Derrick Williams in a 110-104 home win Jan. 13 in the most recent matchup.
Anthony, who scored 28 in a 108-91 victory over the Nets on Dec. 4, missed the last meeting with a sprained right ankle.