Scouting Report: Nets vs. Knicks

Updated: April 16, 2004, 6:31 PM ET
By Brian James | Special to ESPN Insider
Nets' plus-minus breakdown | Knicks' plus-minus breakdown

Brian James, a former assistant coach with the Pistons, Raptors and Wizards, spent the 2003-04 season scouting for the SuperSonics. Insider tapped his NBA expertise to break down each playoff series.

This is the matchup that should excite all of the fans in the New York/New Jersey area. They got their wish. I also believe that, privately, both teams' players wanted the same thing. For the players, everyone gets to sleep in their own beds at night, and for the fans, they might get a chance to watch the entire series in person. This makes for great drama and, hopefully, a series that will turn out to be closer than most people think.

New Jersey has won three consecutive Atlantic Division titles, advancing to the NBA Finals each of the past two seasons. They seem to peak in the playoffs. Now is definitely time to turn on the switch, as the Nets went a pedestrian 12-14 since the 13-game winning streak that followed Lawrence Frank's replacement of Byron Scott as coach.