Rumors sprung Wednesday morning, and later the NY Post said the NBA is running with it:
Barclays Center will host its first NBA regular season game with the Nets and Knicks, right off the bat.
That’s pretty good news for the Knicks, and it’s the worst-case scenario for the Nets.
The NBA's newest fan base will enter their billion-dollar arena with much curiosity, but without history. That’s on the Knicks’ side.
New York fans embarrassed New Jersey fans the last time these teams met on the Nets’ turf at Prudential Center, and plenty of Knicks fans will find their way into Barclays Center November 1 (that’s the reported opening date. The NBA makes it official Thursday). Knicks fans will be loud and focused, while Nets fans are figuring out who they are.
The league doesn’t need to cultivate a rivalry between New York’s teams—there’s already one growing. What needs growth is the Nets fan base. Who are they? Are they quasi-basketball fans, who never took a liking to the Orange & Blue? Are they non-sports fans, looking to be part of the electric Brooklyn scene? Are they miffed Knicks fans, trying to stick it to James Dolan?
The Nets needed to open against the Charlotte Bobcats. They needed a college football warm-up game (hobbled New Jersey even looked good against MJ’s bunch last year, and Deron Williams poured in 57 at Charlotte). Brooklyn fans needed a few weeks to bond and learn their voice, as much as their Nets will need a few weeks on the floor together to figure out who they are.
Now, Knicks fans will take all their offseason frustration out on a sparkling new arena across the East River. They’d love to smudge it and leave their mark on it. Especially with an opening-night win over this noisy little brother in Brooklyn. If Carmelo goes nuts in his birth borough and Knicks fans have a house party in Brooklyn, that’s a pretty expensive tab the Nets are picking up.
It won’t be a fair fight. Come Christmas, it may be, but November 1 is a bad time for the Nets to host the Knicks. The atmosphere will be amped up to 10 regardless of opponent.
Too bad, NBA. When your schedule leak happened, you should have plugged it, then sent Charlotte to Brooklyn November 1. It would be the right move and you could prove your hyper-confidential info (such as … predictable scheduling) is air tight.
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