From the desks of:
NEW JERSEY/BROOKLYN NETS
and NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS:
Back in the days when there was very little animosity between them; you know...., when the Nets seemed destined to stay in New Jersey forever, there was the occasional playoff clash between them and the Knicks. That was when Chocolate Thunder; Otis Birdsong; and Buck Williams led the Nets while Bernard King played on the other side. They clashed again during the Derrick Coleman/Kenny Anderson days and the Patrick Ewing era.
Then things changed between these teams. Bruce Ratner purchased the New Jersey Nets and announced his plans to move the team to Brooklyn. That ignited a new battle on may fronts as the Knicks were now faced with direct competition within the city limits for the first time in their history.
The first major engagement started with the arenas. Brooklyn was building a brand new state-of-the-art place. As for Jim Dolan, after successfully beating down attempts to build a stadium on Manhattan's West Side for the Jets (which would have competed directly with the Garden for big ticket events), he was still in possession of a 1960's relic with sticky floors. As the Nets' move to Brooklyn was one battle Jim Dolan couldn't win, he fought fire with fire. He initiated renovations to Madison Square Garden. In this blog I questioned whether the face-lift would have been undertaken so hastily if not for Barclays Center. The obvious answer is no, because necessity is the mother of all invention; and in Dolan's case, the Nets forced his hand.
Enter Mikhail Prokhorov, and the battle of the capitalists was really on. The new majority owner of the Nets struck first. He had a giant mural painted on a building side on Eighth Avenue right by Madison Square Garden. Me personally? - I thought, what a stroke of Bravado! But Dolan struck back with a billboard featuring Amare Stoudemire smack on the site of Ratner's Atlantic Yards. Both teams continued dotting downtown Brooklyn as The Billboard Wars continued right up until the Lock-Out.
Then competition between the teams really escalated and a new battle front opened when both teams entered the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes. The Knicks won that one; securing their prize scorer. Dolan threw everything he had at Denver to secure Melo's services because he knows the value of having stars in his arena. Without them, the show doesn't go on. Just ask Isiah Thomas. But the Nets were not without a coup of their own. Quite literally under the cover of night, they lifted Deron Williams from Utah.
So far the Nets have failed to acquire Dwight Howard from Orlando. On a long list of things the Nets need most right now, Catching A Break, surely must be among the top two. Last night they took on the Celtics in Boston without the services of Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, and Deron Williams.
While the Nets have been getting brutalized by injuries and bad luck, the Knicks have just been brutal. My shower curtains play better defense than the Knicks. With the addition of Tyson Chandler, Defense was supposed to be this season's mantra. So far, they've been a coalition of the unwilling and as resilient as wet toilet paper.
The Knicks have built a front court to rival any in the League. But they have no point guard and their play is now reflecting their dire need for one. Coach D'Antoni likes to get offensive shots off within seven seconds. But for now, he's been forced into a half court game.
Suffice to say, nothing is going right for either team at the moment. The Knicks can't get a comitment by the players on defense, and the Nets just can't get a committment out of Deron Williams yet. Which brings us to the latest battle of this fledgling, soon-to-be inner city rivalry. The ultimate battle of Dubiousness -
...The Battle for Last Place.
ATLANTIC DIVISION STANDINGS - a/o Thursday Morning:
1) - Philadelphia 3-2
2) - Boston 4-3
3) - Toronto 3-3
4) - KNICKS 2-4
5) - NETS 1-6