IT’S HERE: The Lopez brothers Battle in Primetime



A rivalry may or not be imminent between the Brooklyn Nets (5-13) and New York Knicks (9-10), but there’s certainly a sniff of something as evidence by the national TV broadcast. But while fans are abuzz, the players appear to be over it.

“I don’t know if it’s a rivalry amongst the players,” Jarrett Jack said. “It’s going to be a rivalry amongst the fans because we’re close in proximity, bragging rights amongst the fans maybe. … What creates a rivalry is constant competitive games.”

“We’re just in the same state, so to speak. Other than that, I don’t think it’s much more Knicks and Nets,” Nets swingman Joe Johnson said. “Probably the first year when we came to Brooklyn [2012] it was a big deal…since then it hasn’t really been hyped up like it was that first year.”

While the Nets continue to snuff out the hype verbally, their play on the court lately has done its own talking. Since a hard-fought loss to the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers last Saturday, the Nets have come home and rattled off consecutive victories over the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns. After tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden, the Nets will begin a six-game home stand tomorrow night against Stephen Curry and the still-undefeated NBA Champion Golden State Warriors (20-0). A couple of baby steps up the standings are possible if the home cookin’ continues, but first things first.

The crosstown Knicks snapped their four-game losing streak Wednesday night by beating the hapless Philadelphia 76ers 99-87 at the Garden. Kristaps Porzingis, newly crowned Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month, led the Knicks with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks, throwing down a few more signature dunks to add to his portfolio. The 7’3” phenom is averaging 13.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and two blocks in 28.1 minutes per game this season. Oh, and one Latvian rap song per commercial.

The Nets took all four games from the Knicks last season, the fourth coming on a Brook Lopez tip-in with two seconds remaining to claim at 100-98 road win on April 1st. The season sweep marked the first time the Nets swept a season series from the Knicks since the 2006-07 season. The Nets shot a scorching 47.1 percent from three point range in the four games. This season, the Nets are shooting a league worst 29.7 percent from behind the arc.

Nets center, and ex-Knick, Andreas Bargnani will miss tonight’s game with a hamstring injury.

What to watch for: The Lopez brothers! Robin & Brook have matched up numerous times during their seven years in the league, but not as borough battlers. After signing a four-year, $55 million deal with the Knicks in the offseason, Robin will face off against his twin brother for the first time tonight as a fellow city resident… on the court.

So far this week, we’ve witnessed the two brothers defend their beloved felines against each other with fierce conviction and duel in an epic lightsaber battle.

With the nation’s eyes upon them tonight, who will emerge victorious? Will a Jedi emerge or will a Padawan prove unworthy?

Tip-off is at 7:00 EDT at Madison Square Garden in New York City.