BROOKLYN — The last time the Knicks beat the Nets, Brooklyn’s starting lineup featured Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Joe Harris, Garrett Temple and Jarrett Allen. Suffice it to say that it’s been a while since the Manhattanites defeated the team from Kings County.
Saturday night’s Nets win over the Knicks had plenty of fun, as the Knicks erased a 19-point deficit in the third quarter before Kyrie Irving put the Nets on his back and lifted them to a win. Barclays Center roared through the second half and Nets fans welcomed Julius Randle across the Brooklyn Bridge with chants of “overrated” and “not an all-star.”
The Knicks and Nets have played some spirited affairs against one another, but the rivalry between New York’s two basketball teams hasn’t exactly reached the heights of others, especially in the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving era.
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In fact, it’s been extremely lopsided in this new era of Knicks and Nets basketball, where Brooklyn owns an 11-2 record since the two NBA superstars spurned the Knicks to join the Nets. New York is still a Knicks town, but the Nets have slowly made inroads since their move from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012.
However, developing that New York-New York rivalry has been a slow process, with each team struggling to be competitive at the same time. Add to that, the Knicks and Nets have not met in the postseason since the move to Brooklyn.
“Yeah, I probably lean more that direction, the meaningful games,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said about the two sides needing to meet in the postseason for this to be a true rivalry. “I think what makes it a competitive atmosphere is we got two New York teams. We’re always jockeying for new fans, more fans. So that piece of it, the attention, big city, but I think we need to grow a little bit more having some more meaningful games before it gets to that level.”
When it came to what a real rivalry looked like, the Nets coach looked towards the college basketball world and meetings between Kansas and Missouri and North Carolina going up against Duke. Coincidentally, former Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski was in attendance on Saturday night.
Reflecting on it more at the pro level, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers also came to mind.
“I can remember that as a kid. That’s a rivalry,” Vaughn said. “That’s generational. I grew up Sundays going to church, couldn’t wait to get back home to see the Lakers play Boston. That’s a rival that I remember to this day. That still I think exists. There’s history.”
It was a notion that Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau agreed with.
“Probably a playoff series, something like that,” Thibodeau said when asked what needed to happen to make this a rivalry. “Usually, you need both teams to be really good and hopefully we can get there. They’ve shown that they’re a talented team. And so we have worked in front of us and we want to continue to work.”
The last time the Nets and Knicks met in the postseason was 2004 when they still called New Jersey home and have met in the playoffs only three times. Could that happen this season?
Well anything is possible, but until then, the rivalry will remain somewhat flat.
For more Nets & Knicks coverage, visit amNY.com and our affiliate site at TheBrooklynGame.com
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