This is heating up nicely.
“It was a big shot. Huge shot for them. Like I said, I hate him,” Nets guard Deron Williams joked about Jason Kidd, a former Net whose three-pointer broke a tie Tuesday night and sent the Knicks on to a 100-97 victory in the Barclays Center. “That’s a good quote. You can quote that. I hate him.”
Carmelo Anthony, a Brooklyn native, had a season-best 45 points for the Knicks and prompted “MVP” chants by increasing his average to 27.7 points. Kidd scored 18, including the tiebreaker with 24 seconds left. Kidd said the matchup wasn’t anything out of the ordinary despite his history with the Nets.
“I’m a competitor,” Kidd said. “I want to win.”
Melo was all in, though. This is a rivalry, pure and simple.
“It is. After that first game, we might as well accept that. It is what it is,” Anthony said. “They’re in our division. We see them four times a year. It is a rivalry. It’s great for New York to have that in Brooklyn and Manhattan. When we come here, it’s a battle. When they come in there, it’s going to be a battle. So we accept that.”
In their first meeting, a Sandy-delayed game on Nov. 26, the Nets won 96-89 in overtime. The Knicks are atop the Eastern Conference with a 16-5 record, the Nets are 11-9 and the two are scheduled for a big Christmas Day matchup. The rivalry may be nascent, but, ESPN New York’s Johnette Howard writes, “the message remains unchanged.”
The Knicks are still the iconic franchise. Madison Square Garden, not Brooklyn, is still the basketball mecca. And the Nets, by any name, still have work to do. Wishing they owned the city won’t make it so.
Is it Christmas yet?
“It’s early,” Anthony cautioned. “We’re not even through December yet. It’s still early for us, it’s still early for me. We’re still getting better as a team. We’re still learning how to play basketball as a team and how to win tough games like this. At the end of the season, if that’s it, then we’ll see.”