This season, the Knicks have 99 problems and Brooklyn isn’t one of them. While I’m not discrediting anything that Brooklyn accomplished last year or during this off-season, but in my mind it is no question that the Knicks are the creme of the crop in the Atlantic Division. The rivalry between these two teams grew to record levels in Brooklyn’s inaugural season last year and with the way this off-season has gone, we can expect the same intensity this season. We are still nearly 3 months away from the opening tip yet these two squads are already talking shit and ready to claw each others faces off. Here’s why I feel the Nets will be watching the Knicks throne once again.
Lets start with each teams off-season moves and how they will affect this years outcome. Without question, the biggest move this summer came from the Brooklyn Nets when they acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from the Celtics for basically nothing but picks…sorry Kris Kardashian Humphries. The signing of Andrei Kirilenko will end up paying huge dividends as he will bring a defensive intensity that Joe Johnson never brings. Add these 4 new veterans with the core group built from a year ago of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez and you can say that the Nets had the best off-season in the league…that is unless you believe Dwight will actually do something this year. This team will definitely outperform itself from a year ago mainly because of the experience they added.
What’s amazing to me is that with the great moves Brooklyn has made, the Knicks have been overshadowed all Summer. What people aren’t talking about is the vast improvements the Knicks have made without losing much at all. New York has brought in 3 veterans that are all upgrades from a season ago. The Knicks picked up the one man that can defend any 2/3/4 in the NBA and who can also show some signs of offensive intelligence at the same time. Metta World Peace might be everything that is wrong with the NBA but he can sure play with the best of ’em. The Knicks also acquired Andrea Bargnani and Beno Udrih who will both provide extremely solid production off the bench alongside JR and Kenyon. The Knicks still have the best scorer in the game and if Tyson and Amare can come back healthy and Shumpert is the player everyone assumes he is then New York will be a tough team to tango with all year long.
Last year, Brooklyn and New York split the season series and each game was just as exciting as the next. One of the craziest things that happened between these teams this Summer was the retirement of the Knicks Jason Kidd and his hiring as the new Head Coach of the Nets. That move alone is enough to ignite the fire between these teams but add that in with Paul Pierce declaring his immense hatred of the Knicks and there are bound to be sparks flying all year. Pierce had this to say on the Michael Kay Show;
“I think the hate for the Knicks has grown a little. Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it’s grown to another level. I think it’s time for the Nets to start running this city.” Pierce also had a lot to say about the rivalry at a Sprint Charity event; “The only thing that separates the two teams is a bridge. And both of them are in the same division and both of them are considered contenders. You can’t help but say this is probably gonna be the best rivalry in sports next year.”
I definitely agree that this will be the most exciting rivalry in sports this year. I am looking more forward to the Nets coming to town than I am the Heat or Pacers. I only say that because of the inner city battle; I think the Heat and Pacers both pose a much bigger threat than the Nets do this year. The main reason that I feel the Knicks will win the Atlantic Division, I’m estimating by 2 to 3 games, is because of chemistry and depth. The only everyday player that the Knicks are changing this season will be Kidd and we all know how he played down the stretch last year. This Knicks team is familiar with each other and have proven they belong the elite Eastern teams. The Nets will be right there with them this year but since there is truly no chemistry on the roster and the fact that their newly acquired players are all in the waning stages of their careers tells me that they are not ready to dethrone the Knicks from atop the Atlantic Division.
Let the biased Knicks hatred begin!
WHAT A GAME!!! Game 2 of this newly minted rivalry between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks was even more exciting than the first game between the two teams which ended in overtime. Even after that first game there were doubters saying how this matchup couldn’t be considered a rivalry because of how new it was, but after last night’s thriller all of those naysayers must jump ship. The intensity in the Barclays Center was so high that it had a playoff atmosphere feel to it. Both teams had fans representing them cheering with “Defense” and “MVP” chants all night long. The arena was filled with the expected superstar celebrities like Jay-Z, Spike Lee and many more New Yorkers that were split between the Knicks and Nets. The game was exhilarating from beginning to end and the Knicks came out on top with a 100-97 win to even the series between these two teams at 1-1.
While the excitement over this game was similar to the first game between these two teams, there were a lot of differences entering this contest. In the first matchup between theses foes, the Knicks were without Jason Kidd and the Nets were full strength, while in the second matchup the Nets were missing their stud Brooks Lopez and Knicks were healthy…that is without Shumpert and Stoudemire. After the Knicks loss in game 1, I mentioned that the absence of Jason Kidd was the main contributor to the their demise. Boy was I right! Kidd showed flashes of the All-Star who lead the then New Jersey Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals a decade ago. The Knicks were in a deep hole early in the game and trailed by as many as 17 points but with the veteran leadership that Kidd has displayed all season long, there never seemed to be a sense of panic on the side of the Orange and Blue.
While Kidd kept the pace of the game exactly where the Knicks needed it to be, the real superstar of this fantastic game was the man they call Melo. Carmelo Anthony had his best game of the season and proved why the New York faithful has been justly chanting “MVP MVP” on a nightly basis. Melo had a stat line of 45-5-3 while shooting a lights out 15-24 from the field. It looked at times as if Carmelo had placed a magnet in the rim and the ball and every time he tossed it up it was just drawn to the hoop. It was arguably his best game since the Knicks acquired him two years back. The Nets came out of the gates flying and were up 21-5 at the beginning of the game, but Carmelo Anthony knew this was his game to win and he put his team on his shoulders and played outstanding and inspired ball.
Brooklyn’s hot start was a huge surprise to me, especially with how well the Knicks have been playing and how poorly the Nets have been. Since the first matchup between these teams, the Knicks had gone 6-1 while the Nets have been 2-5 and they were in the midst of a 4 game losing streak. Everything seemed to be in the Knicks favor heading into the game but the Nets had a secret weapon that only my man NYBobby seemed to know about. Andray Blatche, the back up to the injured Lopez, seemed to put anything he tossed up into the bucket. I called Bobby before the game and said that the Knicks were going to manhandle the Nets because Lopez was out but he responded by saying that Blatche was going to have a huge game. I hate to admit when he is right but I have to give credit where credit is due. Blatche finished with 23 points on 9 of 13 shooting and he had the best +/- on the Nets with a +9.
As for the Point Guards in this matchup, there really was a lot of disappoints on both sides…more so for the Knicks. For the second straight time against the Nets, Raymond Felton seemed to be lost on the floor for much of the game as he committed 7 of the Knicks 10 turnovers. Felton’s shooting was abysmal where he finished with 3 of 12 from the floor to end up with an ugly stat line of 8-1-7 with 7 turnovers. On the other end, Deron Williams, who is easily considered a top 3 PG in the league, had an off night himself. While he ended up with 18 points and 10 assists, he really never found a rhythm all night and he even missed a potentially game tying open three pointer.
During last night’s contest I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as the game was filled with nonstop action. With the series between these teams split 1 a piece, the next game has a lot of importance. Luckily for fans of both clubs, we don’t have to wait to long for that matchup because the two teams face off again, this time in the Garden, a week from today. I am thrilled to say that New York not only has two potentially dangerous playoff teams, but they have a newly found rivalry that I expect to be around for years.
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.