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Monday, January 20, 2014
W2W4: Nets at Knicks

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- The East River Rivalry resumes Monday afternoon. But this time, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks will take the floor at Madison Square Garden. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

Return of D-Will ... again? Deron Williams is expected to play after missing the last five games due to ankle injuries.

After he didn't play in a game in 16 days, Williams practiced fully Sunday. The Nets (16-22) have gone 4-1 without him.

Williams received cortisone shots and PRP injections in both ankles two weeks ago. The Nets hope that rejuvenates him, just like it did last season.

There is a lot of concern surrounding Williams’ return. Many question if the offense is going to regress. If history is any indication, the answer is no. Will Shaun Livingston still start? Seems likely.

Remember when: The Knicks (15-25) trounced the Nets 113-83 at Barclays Center Dec. 5. New York shot 57.1 percent and hit 16 3-pointers in the game. Six Knicks scored in double figures, led by Carmelo Anthony’s 19 points.

The Nets have obviously been a better team since the New Year (6-1), and have dramatically improved on the defense end of the court. Since Jan. 2, the Nets are holding teams to a very respectable 101.6 points per 100 possessions -- eighth-best in the NBA over that span.