BROOKLYN AT NEW YORK: Monday, 11:30 a.m. PST. TV: ESPN.
The Nets and Knicks must have tired of seeing themselves on "Late Show" top-10 lists. They're starting to play better basketball after dreadful starts that provided daily fodder for comedy writers. Brooklyn has won six of its last seven games and actually would make the playoffs if they started Sunday (though that says more about the awful Eastern Conference than the mediocre Nets). New York has won six of its last 10, including victories over Miami and San Antonio, while shrugging off the quirks of Shoelace Bandit J.R. Smith. The Knicks also hold a 30-point triumph over the Nets last month in the teams' first meeting of the firstname.lastname@example.org