April 02, 2014

Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the New York Knicks veterans will see their minutes decreased in the final six games in order to give younger players more experience.

That may not apply Friday night to starting center Robin Lopez, who has one more matchup left to try to slow down his twin brother.

Brooklyn Nets star Brook Lopez will be rested and ready to try to torment his brother yet again and their sibling rivalry may be the only intriguing part of this city rivalry at Madison Square Garden.

These teams are led by interim coaches and would be the worst in the Atlantic Division if not for nine-win Philadelphia. The Knicks are losers of six of eight and 20 of 27 while the Nets (21-54) are seeking to avoid their first nine-game road slide since a 12-game skid in 2010-11.

Several Knicks approached coach Kurt Rambis on their road trip this week and asked to get their minutes reduced. Rambis and the Phil Jackson-led organization agreed to do so beginning with Wednesday's 91-89 loss at Dallas.

"We would like to cut down on guys' minutes who we feel secure with," Rambis told the Knicks' official website. "We know who they are as players and (they) play well for us and try to cut back their minutes to open up minutes for other guys."

Anthony, who scored 31 in 33 minutes against the Mavericks, was one of the catalysts for the move.

"It's an opportunity for guys to just play," Anthony said. "It's not any one person that I want to see, it's just opportunity for guys that haven't been playing as much to go out there and play now."

New York (30-46) has seen plenty from rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who is one of the franchise's cornerstones. Porzingis is uncertain after he sat out Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

Robin Lopez is within the group of veterans who will see his minutes cut, although he may want to receive his regular playing time Friday. Twin brother Brook Lopez is averaging 24.7 points on 51.8 percent shooting to help Brooklyn take two of three meetings with New York this season and his Nets have won six of the last seven matchups.

Brooklyn chose to rest Lopez in Thursday's 107-87 loss at Cleveland, probably figuring it had a better chance to win Friday than against LeBron James and the Eastern Conference leaders. The Nets shot 37.2 percent without him for their second-worst mark.

"It changes everything," said coach Tony Brown about Lopez sitting out. "You have a threat down there in the paint that garners some attention. With him not being out there, obviously it makes it a little tougher."

The Nets have dropped seven straight in the second game of back-to-back sets, going 2-11 overall.

Rookie shooting guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is expected to play after missing two straight games for Brooklyn. He has missed most of the season with a fractured right ankle.

Knicks guard Jose Calderon is uncertain after he injured his quad in Dallas.

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