After missing the playoffs since 2007, the 40-28 Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff spot Thursday night in their inaugural season in Brooklyn thanks to a loss by the Philadelphia 76ers. In honor of this momentous occasion, we've decided to take a look back at the last Nets team to make the NBA Finals: the 2002-03 New Jersey Nets, who went 49-33, won ten consecutive playoff games at one point, and lost in six games to the San Antonio Spurs. That team stood in stark contrast to this year's playoff-bound Nets: the Jason Kidd-led roster ranked first in the NBA in defensive efficiency and 11th in pace, taking down opponents both by grinding out victories and by pushing the break. There are some names old Nets fans may recognize (Lucious Harris, Aaron Williams), as well as names current Knicks fans will recognize (Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin).

It's been a decade since that New Jersey Nets team went as far as any NBA Nets team has ever gone, so we decided to ask: where are they now?
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Stephon Marbury, New York Knicks, Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets

Stephon Marbury & Jason Kidd... Two players who have seen both sides. (AP/Bill Kostroun)

In whatever superlative you'd like to assign it -- the Battle for New York, Battle of the Boroughs, the Nets' arrival on the New York stage, or just another game -- the ex-New Jersey/now Brooklyn Nets take on the New York Knicks tonight, in Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This game has added meaning like few Nets-Knicks games have had before, but these two have had an up-and-down rivalry since the Nets joined the NBA in 1976.

Let's take a look through the history of the Nets-Knicks rivalry: from its origin, through the decades and playoff matchups, through the players that have seen both sides, and finally to today: the "Blueprint for Greatness" era.

The origin story
The 1980s: Waves of excellence in a sea of obscurity
1983: The first playoff battle ends in defeat
The 90s: what could have been
Playoffs: '94's and Heartbreak

The Nets take center stage
Nets sweep at last

The Blueprint for Greatness

The origin story

... MORE →