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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
W2W4: Nets at Knicks

By Mike Mazzeo

The Nets will close out the preseason by taking on the Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

DO THE HUMPTY DANCE?: Kris Humphries is back, but coach Avery Johnson said if he plays, it’ll only be for like three minutes. Even still, three minutes is better than no minutes. The Nets only have four practices remaining -- including a double session on Friday -- to get ready for the regular season.

FOR STARTERS: Johnson said earlier in the week he’s going with the same starting five he went with Saturday: Brook Lopez, Shelden Williams, Damion James, Anthony Morrow and Deron Williams.

NEAT IS BETTER: The Nets had 26 turnovers on Saturday, which led to 26 points for the Knicks. They can’t afford to be that out of sync offensively.

“A little less sloppiness out of everybody,” Williams said when asked what he’d like to see his team on. “The first game was a little tough, we’d only scrimmaged like twice. So hopefully it’ll be a little better [Wednesday]. We just need to get in a rhythm, and find some sort of continuity between each other.”

WISH GRANTED: Last season, Johnson was asked if he dreamed about the opportunity to coach Carmelo Anthony. “I dream about our center getting 10 rebounds,” Johnson replied. Fair enough. Lopez had just 10 double-digit rebound games in 2010-11, but got to an impressive start on the glass, snagging 11 boards (and an additional 10 rebound attempts, Johnson said) and blocking five shots on Saturday. If only it counted. Lopez will also have the opportunity to go against Tyson Chandler again. Perfect.

ROTATION: Johnson said he wants to go with like a nine-to-nine-and-a-half-man rotation in the first half, and then gauge accordingly. Williams said he doesn’t really care how long he plays, “As long as I play on the 26th [in Washington].”