Hurricane Sandy delayed the New York Knicks invasion into Brooklyn by almost four weeks, but while the Knicks didn’t get the opportunity to open up the Barclays Center, that doesn’t mean that Monday night’s contest against the Nets will hold any less meaning to the Knicks.
The Knicks will insist that the Nets aren’t rivals just yet because they moved to Brooklyn however despite Tyson Chandler downplaying the situation, you can’t sell that this is a meaningless game to the two fan bases.
“A rivalry comes through playoffs and hard fought games,” Chandler said to ESPN’s Ian Begley. “It just doesn’t come from a team moving …. It has to go through history.”
By Chandler’s theory this isn’t a rivalry, but it is certainly Chapter 1 in what has the potential to turn into a great one.
Especially this season when the Knicks enter 9-3 and the Nets 8-4.
If anything it will hold a special place in the heat of Carmelo Anthony who said:
“If we don’t get up for this game, then I don’t know what games we’ll get up for. It’s an inner-city game, New York versus Brooklyn. To me, going back home, going back to my borough, playing my first game back there is a very special moment.”
Even though the Knicks have downplayed the Nets arrival and the preseason shots that Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov, they would be lying to say that this is just another game.
Both teams bring in star-studded rosters and both teams are fighting for the back pages of the New York newspapers.
That alone should spark a rivalry between the two franchises.
The Knicks don’t want the Nets stealing any of their thunder. New York is still their city until proven otherwise.
If they don’t come into this game and treat it as a playoff game, then it will be disappointing. It will certainly have that type of feel to both fan bases.
But beyond that, this is an Atlantic Division battle. It’s a division both teams want to win and they will have to go through each other to do so.
It may not have the same luster as opening up the season in Brooklyn, but this game will still have major attention surrounding it. Both teams will be out to make a statement that they are the team to go through and that the Big Apple is indeed their town.
As Chandler said, this may not be a rivalry yet, but after 48 minutes of basketball it very well could take the first steps into doing so.
Hopefully the Knicks treat it as a big game, because this is much bigger than your typical November game.
Let the rivalry begin.
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