Building a Rivalry
If you are a basketball fan, then you were definitely tuned in for the first ever game between the newly formed inner-city rivalry New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. This was a make up game that was postponed due to the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. One of the biggest questions heading into this contest was whether or not these teams could be considered a rivalry or not. If it wasn’t a rivalry before the game, it sure as hell is now. While the outcome of 96-89 win for the Brooklyn Nets was a disappointing one to Knicks fans like myself, the atmosphere around the game was absolutely brilliant for the NBA and especially New York.
My boy NYBobby recently wrote about how the Brooklyn Nets deserve more praise then they are getting for their impressive start the season (https://sports-debaters.com/2012/11/18/big-ups-to-brooklyin/). I, of course, gave him a hard time and explained that to get quality press you must get quality wins. Since that article, the Nets had a huge win over the LA Clippers, who are a top 3 team in the Western Conference, and last night they pulled out an even bigger win against the then Atlantic Division leading Knicks. Now the Nets sit tied on top of the Atlantic Division with the Knicks and I feel that I owe them some recognition. Clearly, the Brooklyn Nets are a team to recon with this season and while I still rank them behind the Knicks, the disparity between the two isn’t nearly what I thought it was.
Last nights game was a lot more then just a regular season win for the Brooklyn Nets and loss for the New York Knicks. The game was played in the Nets new stomping grounds, the Barclays Center, and boy was it rocking. The turnout for the game was way more electrifying then I thought it could be and both teams were represented well by their supporters. While the commentators seemed to think the crowd was a 60-40 split in favor of the Nets, I thought it was 50-50. There were actual points in the game where I couldn’t tell if a play went good or bad for the Knicks because they had an equal amount of fans and haters. The stadium was a very unappealing mix of black, silver, blue and orange and the intensity was high.
Throughout the game, I was on the phone with Bobby talking about how exciting this regular season game was. I rarely put much stock in any of the first 50 games of an NBA season as teams are just trying to find their footing. That being said, the Knicks and Nets clearly new what this game could mean for the city and after the Nets big win, the city of New York now has 2 #1 teams to root for. While I am Knicks fan through and through and I will never root against them, I do now have a small place in my heart for New York’s newest team. New York has not had two quality teams in the same sport since the Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees back in 2000. The Jets, Giants and even the forgotten Bills are never good at the same time, or in the Bills case…ever, and the Mets always seem to suck when the Yankees are thriving, which is almost always.
A lot of people are saying that the Nets and Knicks can’t be considered a rivalry because neither has been relevant in quite some time, but that’s not how I see it. Knicks/Nets games has always been an important matchup on each teams respective calendars for a while now. Just because neither team has been good recently shouldn’t take away from the intensity that both teams bring out of each other. In their first battle as newly minted inner-city rivals, the two teams fought tooth and nail to earn a “W” and the Nets came out victorious in an exhilarating overtime thriller. Sure, the Knicks were without Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire and the Nets were completely healthy, but I’m not an excuse maker and the Nets deserved the win. Deron dominated Raymond and while Melo and Tyson had their best games of the season, it just wasn’t enough to defeat the scrappy Nets.
As tough as last nights loss was, I am very happy to know that the Knicks will not have to wait long to pay the Nets back with a taste of their own medicine as the two teams will face off once again on national television Tuesday, December 11th in the Barclays Center and then again on December 19th in the Garden. Firstly, I want the Knicks to win because I just love the Knicks. Secondly, I want the Knicks to win to shut Charles Barkley and Shaq the hell up. Congratulations to the Nets for their hard fought victory and I know I will be ready for another exciting game two weeks from today. Sit back and enjoy the ride New York because it looks like our city has two teams that are looking to make some noise this year.