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.
Going to make this short and sweet. My partner in crime has been, and will continue to write about how great the New York Knicks are playing. I understand why, I mean they have jumped out to a 7-1 start with big early wins over Miami and San Antonio. However, if you look at the Atlantic Conference standings you will notice another New York team sitting close to the top. The Brooklyn Nets, in the first season in their new home have come out of the gate at a 6-2 clip and need to be recognized…
After a rough existence as the New Jersey Nets, the Nets have a new look, a new energy and have thus far put up new results. The Nets embarked on a West Coast trip this afternoon as they took the court in Sacramento against the Kings. While I know that Sacramento is a pretty awful team, traveling across the country is always a tall task and in the past few years, the Nets would have lost a game like that. While a win like today’s isn’t the sexiest, it’s an absolute indicator that the Nets are a much improved team.
The great thing about the Nets thus far is that they are getting contributions from the entire team. Joe Johnson had a woeful game today shooting 1-10. However, the Nets had Marshon Brooks step off the bench and put up 14 points on 5-6 from the floor. While Kris Humphries hasn’t been scoring much this year, his hustle and boarding are huge factors. To make up for Humphries lack of offensive production, Andray Blatche came into today’s game and went 11-12 from the floor while putting in 22 points off the bench. Todays game was the perfect example of a team that is meshing well and supporting one another.
Brook Lopez, who was supposed to be shipped out of town for Dwight Howard on 50 different occasions, has really been a difference maker this year. He’s always been a great inside scorer when healthy, and now that he has a playmaker like Deron Williams to receive the ball from, he’s ready to insert himself in the short conversation of top Centers in the league. He’s put up 17.8 points per game in the early season and I expect that number to go up as long as he stays off the injured list. In today’s win vs. the Kings, Lopez also had 4 blocks, which is an area that has never really been in strength. If Lopez keeps growing in his defense, look for him to join Deron as East reps at this year’s All-Star game.
As earlier stated, I’m not trying to disrespect the Knicks at all. They are receiving lots of love and right now they deserve it. The Nets need some also though and after they beat the Lakers Tuesday night, which I am predicting right now, they will start to receive a little more of the National Spotlight than they have to date. As a New York City hoops fan, the past week has been about as good as it’s been in quite a long time. I just want to make sure everyone realizes that there are TWO teams out there representing the greatest city in the world on the hard court.
Today might be a day that changes the face of New York City Basketball. The Nets, who are preparing for their first season in Brooklyn made a huge splash on the trade front yesterday. They dealt Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and DeShawn Stevenson and a 2013 first round pick for Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard Joe Johnson. The Nets were horrific last year and there was no way that they could enter this season in Brooklyn with the same roster. Their hope was trading for Johnson would convince point guard Deron Williams that they are serious about competing. What the Nets are rumored to be doing today would absolutely hammer that point home to D-Will.
After yesterday, it was assumed that the Nets would no longer have the pieces necessary to deal for Dwight Howard. Howard has let the world know that the only place he wants to play is in Brooklyn and said that he would refuse to sign with any other team. Basically, Howard has tied the Magic’s front office’s hands behind their backs, warning any other team that they will only be renting him for a year and maybe they should think twice about mortgaging their futures. Therefore, the only team that it would be worth trading their young talent for Dwight is Brooklyn. After the Johnson trade, it didn’t appear that there was any young talent left to moved.
However, when you woke up this morning ESPN’s Chris Broussard had reported that the Nets are in discussions with Orlando to potentially land the premier big man. The Nets are reportedly offering Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and their first round picks for 2013, 2015 and 2017. If the trade goes through, the Nets would have traded away their entire roster in a matter of two days, leaving only Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Dwight Howard and hopefully Deron Williams to build their team around. However, if you look at the blue print the Miami Heat laid out for the NBA world to see, it is clear that this would have a great chance of working. No matter who the Nets filled the roster in with, they would certainly be a playoff team and an automatic contender for the next few years.
Why would this scenario work great for Brooklyn? First of all, there would be energy and life in the Barclays Center each and every night to welcome the Nets to Brooklyn. If you watched the NBA playoffs and saw the difference the OKC crowd made in lifting the Thunder at home, the same could be expected from a Brooklyn fan base that has wanted a pro sports team since the Dodgers left town. This Brooklyn squad would have the opportunity to write the Nets history books in the biggest media market in the world. The Nets would be bringing in the best center in the game, one of the top 3 point guards and maybe the best #3 option in Johnson in all of basketball, though Chris Bosh or James Harden might think differently. Deron Williams has been linked to both Dallas and Brooklyn as landing spots, but Brooklyn makes much more sense, assuming Howard and Johnson are both Nets. Although the NBA Champion Miami Heat play in the East, the Nets with these three stars would catapult into a contender immediately. If these guys team up in the West, there would be more teams for them to compete against, as they will battle the Thunder, Spurs, Lakers, Clippers and Mavericks who are always contenders.The Boston Celtics are aging, the Chicago Bulls are often injured and the New York Knicks have plenty of their own issues (Amare Stoudemire). It is possible that the Nets would win the Atlantic Division as soon as next year. Having a top line center, point guard and wing player would be a different “big three” model than we have seen recently and I think it would be dominant.
As a Nets fan, my expectations heading into next season were low. The Nets, even with Deron Williams last season were as previously mentioned abysmal. How much of that had to do with them leaving New Jersey and a lack of fan support, or how much of that was due to lack of talent and injuries? Well it appears we’ll never know because Brooklyn’s version of the Nets will most likely look extremely different. If the Nets get Dwight Howard then they will be instant contender. If the Nets fail to land Howard but field a team of D-Will, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries, they should also be entertaining and I would expect a playoff appearance. If they fail to trade for Dwight, sign Williams and are left with a roster of Johnson and who they had last year, it might be a long couple years. But today is all about optimism and I am totally expecting the next big three to be playing in Brooklyn for the next 5 or 6 years! Better get your tickets now before it all becomes official and you can still afford to go and watch the newest hot ticket in town.