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Knicks Top Nets in Brooklyn

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The rivalry between New York and Brooklyn, though young, is already building up to classic status.

Knicks Top Nets in Brooklyn

On November 26th, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets opened up their new intra-city rivalry with an overtime thriller.  The Nets struck first, outlasting New York 96-89.  Last night, the two teams elevated the young rivalry to classic status.  New York took down Brooklyn 100-97, and the game showed just how much these two teams want to beat each other.

The Nets looked like they were going to wipe the floor with New York early on.  Brooklyn couldn't miss, New York couldn't make, and the Nets led by as much as 17 in the first and second quarters.  But Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, and J.R. Smith put the team on their backs.  Melo exploded for 45 points (along with five rebounds and three assists), Smith scored 16, and Kidd led the three-point barrage as he knocked down 6-8 from deep, including the game-winner with 24 seconds left in the game (to go along with six assists and rebounds).  

The Nets got strong performances all around.  Deron Williams (18 points, 10 assists), Andray Blatche (23 points), Gerald Wallace (17/4/4), Joe Johnson (16/5/4) and Reggie Evans (5 points, 18 rebounds) all played extremely hard in the loss.  Both teams went "balls-to-the-wall" in this one.  Wallace and Smith, specifically, threw their bodies around and were hobbling up and down the court by the end of the game.  Neither wanted to come out though.  They both needed to see things through.  I tweeted during the closing minutes how the events were reminding me of the climactic final scene in Goon, the Seann William Scott where his character and the film's antagonist have their final bloody confrontation on the ice.  Both kept throwing haymakers, both looked like they were going down, yet neither would give in an inch.

After the game, Deron Williams commented on the three that Kidd hit to win the game, and closed his statement with words that speak to how intense this rivalry already is: "I hate him."  When you think of the greatest rivalries in sports, the word "hate" always gets thrown around.  The Yankees and Red Sox hate each other.  Ohio State/Michigan, Duke/UNC, Packers/Bears, Lakers/Celtics can all say they hate the other parties.  But the animosity between these two teams already feels palpably real after only two games, real enough to be on a level with all of these other rivalries.  As a Knicks fan, there was already that pit in my gut during the first loss and that joyous elation during the first win that told me everything I needed to know about this rivalry's status.  It was already official and only needed two contests to get there.

Both of these teams now occupy the same city, and both are playing like they would kill for it.  Both games at the Barclays Center had a playoff atmosphere around them.  The crowd of dueling Knicks and Nets fans just had an extra bite to it, and you know the energy level won't drop at all when the two square off at Madison Square Garden.  All the players fed off the raucous vibe on both nights, and it resulted in some of the most intense basketball of the year.  Every player was a little testier, a little more on edge, just possessing more intensity.  No matter the circumstances, you know both teams are going to get up for this game because the added layers of New York City and owning the town make it that much more important.

And think about this: both games have featured imperfect Nets and Knicks teams.  Amar'e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, and Kidd all missed the first game.  Stoudemire and Shumpert were still out last night, and though Kidd was back, the Nets were without Brook Lopez (who was a big part of the Nets win).  And they still won't be the teams they will when they meet next Wednesday at the Garden.  Come January, we will be looking at two completely different teams ready to have it out again, fighting for their respective boroughs and the city as a whole.

And I can't wait.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see your favorite teams this season.

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