Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: Battle For The City Begins

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

New York Knicks
Nassau Coliseum
Long Island, N.Y.

Pre-Season Showdown Versus Manhattan Knicks;
It's Time To Face The Competition.

An era ends.  A new age begins.  Over the last thirty five years, the New York Knicks foot print extended out and dominated the desolation of East Rutherford.  The days when Nets players got taunted by Knicks crowds in their own arena, as was the case in the Meadowlands arena and in Newark, are done.  The Nets have a new home crowd now, passionate and loyal as any.  Many native Brooklynites that will be attending games this season have no particular need, want, or even like for Manhattan.  So proceed thee now with caution Knickerbockers.  In eight more days they'll be  entering the very different Borough of Kings.

The Billboard Wars which played out over the last two winters, and the Battle for Melo are both long behind us.  While the first official game isn't until November 1st, the modern Battle for Brooklyn and the greater city is upon us.  Sometime late next Thursday afternoon, the New York Knicks in all likelihood will traverse the Manhattan Bridge and file down Flatbush Avenue.  Their destination will be Barclays Center, to engage the Brooklyn Nets on their home court for the first time in history.

First, Brooklyn and New York will return to the site of the Nets organization's greatest triumphs to date.  Wednesday's pre-season game will be played in Long Island's Nassau Coliseum; the arena where the once formerly New York Nets won two American Basketball Association championships.  Those were the days of Julius Erving, more popularly known as Dr. J.  This trip into Long Island also hearkens back to the days when the Knicks imposed not one, but two territorial rights tariffs against the Nets.  On top of paying the NBA entrance fee once the NBA/ABA merger took effect, the Nets were also forced to pay the Knicks their due tax for entry into the local market.  The Knicks nailed them again for the Nets subsequent move into New Jersey.

This time, the Nets relocated to the 4th largest city in America, which just also happens to be right next door, and the Knicks weren't entitled to a dime.  Conveniently forgotten, if not ignored, Brooklyn is the western tip of Long Island.  So I guess in a manner of speaking, the cycle is complete.

If you're headed to the Nassau Coliseum and get overwhelmed by a waft of Tiger Balm, that would be the Knicks you smell.  When you write names on paper, they have a great team.  In truth, I think the Knicks are in deep trouble.  They have more senior citizens on the books than AARP.  Amare and Camby are already out.  And Rasheed Wallace, is back (!?) and out as well.  The only real question is - Who's next?  My money is on Jason Kidd having to swipe his Medicaid card.

Having Amare off the floor only makes Melo's world better anyway.  Right?  That used to be the case.  The return of Ray Felton and the arrival of Jason Kidd should change that.  Amare and Melo no longer need to learn how to exist together.  The Knicks have two guards who will decide things for them.  I'm even looking for Felton and Kidd to elevate Tyson Chandler's offensive game as well.

The Knicks biggest concern is now health, and lack of youth.  Coach Woodson is going to have to manage his team very carefully.  The Knicks actually have a few players who want to play defense now.  But how long will they manage to stay on the court?

In their first pre-season as the Brooklyn Nets, the team is also not without their problems.  While cohesiveness is still going to be a work in progress, their defense is far below Coach Avery's standards.  Based on their overall play so far, who could blame Coach for voicing displeasure after allowing 100 points in three of five games.  Despite a 3-2 record, the Nets have allowed 510 points, for a 102 ppg average.  They have scored 484 points, for a 96.8 ppg average.  I would also venture to say the team's overall free throw shooting needs major improvement as well.  But hey, that's why it's called practice.

Tonight, the Battle for the City begins.  Let's get it on!


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