USD 79.9667 CNY 11.3044 EUR 85.9190 JPY 57.2008
Home » Is the Knicks-Nets Rivalry a Real Thing?

Is the Knicks-Nets Rivalry a Real Thing?

29 January 2023, Sunday
Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn saw quite a bit of discussion on the question of what qualifies as a rivalry between the Nets and Knicks. This is due to the fact that, for one of the few times since the teams have been in the same city, both have winning records.

Since the Brooklyn Nets first moved to the borough in 2012-13, they have managed to post winning seasons in the same year as the Knicks twice over their nine-year period. In their inaugural season, the Knicks won their first divisional title since 1994 and managed a total of 54 wins, while the Nets recovered from a slow start to end the season with 49 wins, falling in the seventh game of the playoffs against Tom Thibodeau’s Chicago Bulls. This led to a trade of multiple draft picks to the Celtics to acquire the ageing duo of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Two seasons ago, the Nets formed their Big Three of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, and they were successful, winning 48 games in a 72-game season. Meanwhile, the Knicks saw a remarkable surge late in the season, with Julius Randle having a career year, resulting in them winning 41 games.

After experiencing lackluster campaigns, both teams emerged from their second encounter with records above .500, but is it a rivalry if one team has a clear edge over the other? Brooklyn's 122-115 victory, where they were ahead for the last 46 minutes and 53 seconds following the Knicks putting up the first point, marked their ninth consecutive matchup winning streak.

After dropping 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter of a nationally televised game as part of ABC's tripleheader, Kyrie Irving remarked, "If the NBA calls it rivalry week, then it's a rivalry."

The Brooklyn Nets point guard went on to add, "For me, I love beating the Knicks and playing against them, but all in all, it's just about the objective and that's to win the ballgame. Nothing personal."

For Tom Thibodeau and Jacque Vaughn, the situation may not be so straightforward. Thibodeau was on the sidelines as an assistant for the New York Knicks in the 1990s when they encountered the Miami Heat in the playoffs from 1997 to 2000. Their series showcased the physical intensity that has become a hallmark of the rivalry.

When asked about the rivalry with the Brooklyn Nets during a recent interview, Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach Tom Thibodeau remarked that it will likely take a playoff series for the two teams to be considered true rivals. He went on to say that for that to occur, both teams need to be very competitive.

The rivalry between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics is one that has been around for generations. According to Knicks guard Wesley Matthews III, great memories were made growing up watching the teams face each other on Sundays.

“That’s a rivalry that I remember to this day, that still exists. There’s history,” he said.

Though it would be thrilling to watch a playoff series between the two teams, it is not yet ready to be discussed due to the Knicks current position in the standings. They are currently in seventh and 1 1/2 games behind the Miami Heat, so any talk of the series will have to wait until it becomes a possibility.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn noted that he felt Celtics-Lakers had a more intense rivalry than Islanders-Rangers prior to their game, as the 12 meetings in the NBA finals show. However, Vaughn still believes competition between the two teams is enjoyable and that there is a bit of bragging rights to be had. As far as the Islanders-Rangers rivalry, although networks consider it a rivalry, perhaps due to the fact that their last playoff series was a dominant first-round sweep by the Rangers on their way to their 1994 Stanley Cup, the playoff criteria must be taken into account.

Despite facing the Celtics in two consecutive postseasons, the Nets have been unsuccessful in overcoming them, but the last time the Knicks faced them in a playoff series was in the first round of 1990. While it is difficult to define a rivalry based on playoff series criteria, it is clear that the Nets and Celtics have had a strong rivalry over the years.

The Nets and Philadelphia have plenty of reasons to be rivals; they met in the first round back in 2019, with Philadelphia emerging victorious in five games. As for the Knicks, they last faced the Sixers in the 1989 first-round, a three-game sweep, before falling to the Jordan-era Chicago Bulls in five separate postseason losses.

Since the Knicks and Nets began playing in the same city, there have been 41 of their 219 regular-season meetings that have been held within the city limits. This rivalry is more associated with baseball, as teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox faced off 19 times in each season from 2001 up until last year, with the exception of 2020 as they played 162 games.

The debate on whether or not meaningful games are necessary for a postseason series continues to burn, as no coach has yet to weigh in on the topic in such a context. Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd, Lionel Hollins, Tony Brown, Kenny Atkinson, Steve Nash and Vaughn, all coaches of the Brooklyn Nets, as well as Mike Woodson, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Jeff Hornacek, David Fizdale, Mike Miller and Thibodeau have all commented on the subject. However, Vaughn has taken a stance on the matter, stating, “I lean more in that direction of [it is needing] meaningful games. We need to grow more and have some more meaningful games before it gets to that level.”
UselessPoorFairGoodExcellent (No ratings yet)