3-on-3: Nets-Knicks

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Neither of these guys are playing tonight.

With this being the final time the Knicks and Nets play an NBA game in New Jersey, we decided to go nostalgic with today’s 3-on-3. The facts of this season are upon us: the Nets are out of the playoffs and the Knicks are fighting for playoff seeding. This game tonight as an individual game doesn’t mean too much, but it is a part of a much bigger narrative of NBA basketball in the metropolitan area.

Joining us to talk Nets-Knicks is Jim Cavan of Knickerblogger.

1. Can the Brooklyn Nets take over as “New York’s” team?

  • Devin Kharpertian: Not for a while, and not without the team for it. I have a sense that Brooklyn will adopt the Nets with no problem, but when you’re talking NY glitz & glamour, you’ve gotta touch all five boroughs. Granted, Brooklyn is the largest borough, population-wise, so they’ve got a decent start. But Manhattan won’t turn on the Knicks, and from a spatial standpoint, the easiest way to get to Brooklyn from most of the boroughs (save Staten Island) is through Manhattan. The Brooklyn Nets will have to give New Yorkers a reason to skip the Penn Station stop on their subway trip.
  • Justin DeFeo: I can’t ever see it happening. In my opinion the Nets never definitively held the title of “New Jersey’s” team even. The Nets need to create their own niche in Brooklyn and perhaps establish the identity they never had in NJ, but they’ll never be considered New York’s team.
  • Jim Cavan, KnickerBlogger: There will certainly be some initial buzz and excitement. The question is whether Prokhorov, Jay-Z and company can sustain it for the long haul. As such, their goal shouldn’t be to become “New York’s team,” so much as it should be to define and differentiate themselves with a different – read: younger, hipper – demographic. What better place than Brooklyn, where water flows like Pabst, vending machines dispense scarves, and roughly 90% of the sports blogosphere resides.

 

2. Will you miss the “Cross-Hudson” rivalry?

  • DK: Not particularly. I’ll miss it as I’ll miss everything about the New Jersey Nets, but the rivalry’s just getting a little more cramped these days. Given how few Nets fans populated these arenas when times were tough, and given how many Knicks fans will likely show up tonight in New Jersey, the rivalry lately consisted of little more than Deron Williams firing off on Jeremy Lin. Only time will tell how Brooklyn responds to the rivalry, but it has to be an improvement.
  • JD: To me the rivalry was mostly about proximity and had little to do with actual bad blood on the basketball court. True rivalries in the NBA form in the playoffs and in my lifetime neither team was ever peaking or near peaking at the same time. The Kidd era Nets dominated during that time, otherwise the Knicks mostly hold the edge. Being from New Jersey myself I had more pride in my team, perhaps, then I will in Brooklyn, but the proximity that created this rivalry in the first place will still exist with the teams just being a $2.00 Metro card away.
  • JC: To the contrary, I think the forthcoming “Brooklyn Bridge Rivalry” will be plenty compelling. Obviously New Jersey fans are being – somewhat unceremoniously – left in the dust, and it’ll be interesting to see where some of those loyalties will end up being transposed. But if Prokhorov can pull off a mini miracle and get D-Will to stay (in the form of Anthony Davis or some other big offseason move), I think we’ll be in for a few fun years of cross-borough barbs and blood.

 

3. And the winner is…

  • DK: Knicks. The anti-tanking Nets played a fantastic game of basketball against Miami despite missing their three best players, but sustaining that level of production — especially as they’ll be, for the second straight game, the away team in their home arena — will be difficult. Carmelo Anthony’s playing like a man possessed in the past month, and as Monday night showed, the Nets don’t have much to throw at powerful, athletic scoring small forwards. If Gerald Wallace is healthy, he’ll help, but he won’t make the difference. #Tanktanktank
  • JD:Knicks. I cannot see the Nets being able to compete in this game. Carmelo Anthony is playing as well as anyone in the league now and the Nets won’t be able to stop him.
  • JC: Knicks. But it won’t be a blowout. This has all the makings of a trap game, what with the Knicks coming off a huge home win over the division-leading Celtics. But the Nets are as depleted as any team in the league, so the ‘Bockers can probably survive an average to below-average outing by virtue of little more than half-consistent D and Melo keeping up his Bernard-esque run. Knicks 98, Nets 89.

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