On opening night, the Knicks won, the Nets lost, and New York still questions, which team is better? Wednesday evening was game night in Manhattan for the Knicks while the Nets were in Cleveland. The Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 90-83 and the Nets lost in Cleveland to the Cavaliers, 98-94.
The two teams will not go head to head until December 5 in Brooklyn, but ever since the Nets traded for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the question around the boroughs and tri-state area has been which team will be the toast of the town. The Nets made the splashier moves in the offseason, picking up Garnett and Pierce from the Celtics. Bringing the Celtics animus for the Knicks to Brooklyn will be no problem for Garnett or Pierce and will fuel the Big Apple rivalry.
Meanwhile, the Knicks added seven-footer Andrea Bargnani, veteran Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih from Slovenia, , rookies Tim Hardaway, Jr., Chris Smith, and Toure Murry, and three-year center Cole Aldrich.
The Nets lineup of Garnett, Pierce, and Brook Lopez in the front court and Deon Johnson and Joe Johnson in the backcourt, against the Knicks lineup of Carmelo Anthony, Bargnani, Tyson Chandler along the front line and Raymond Felton and Iman Schumpert may present some match-up problems for the Knicks against the Nets.
Garnett and Pierce will play limited minutes according to Nets’ rookie head coach Jason Kidd, but in game one, Garnett played 26 minutes and Pierce played 30 minutes. Only Lopez and Johnson played more minutes for the Nets than Garnett and Pierce.
At Madison Square Garden, the Knicks got scoring from ten players with Carmelo Anthony leading all scorers with 19 points. In their Cleveland opener, Brooklyn also received scoring from ten players, with Lopez leading all scorers with 21 points.
On opening night, the Knicks gave up the fewest points of any team in the NBA. That will likely change after facing the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night. Brooklyn’s second game will be home on Friday night against the Miami Heat.
Until December 5 when the two teams first meet, the Nets look like the better team. Otherwise, we’ll have to wait to see a battle of the boroughs on the hardwood.
Hoopsworld analysts are projecting that the Knicks will secure the second seed in the East and the Nets are slotted in for the fourth seed. Sports Illustrated projects the Nets to go into the second and possibly the third round of playoffs, but the Knicks are listed as a “flop team” that will be bounced out after the first round of playoffs. The city and state are also divided on which team will be better, which is why they play a full season.