Why NY Knicks Must Now Acknowledge the Brooklyn Nets as Rivals

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIDecember 4, 2012

The New York Knicks are no longer the only NBA team in the Big Apple, as the Brooklyn Nets have come to town to play in the brand new Barclays Center.

The Nets have not just come to occupy space, however. They have come to compete, and they may have just established themselves as equals with the Knicks.

Brooklyn general manager Billy King made a flurry of transactions this offseason to shore up the bench and the starting lineup.

He brought in shooting guard Joe Johnson to play opposite point guard Deron Williams, while also adding bench depth in C.J. Watson, Andray Blatche, Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Evans.

This was done in order to keep with owner Mikhail Prokhorov's five-year plan, a goal that has just three years remaining.

The two teams were originally scheduled to play in their season opener, but Hurricane Sandy put a damper on those plans.

Instead, the Knicks and Nets met on November 26 at the Barclays' Center.

Boy, was it a statement game for the New York newcomers.

The Nets were able to take down the Knicks 96-89 in overtime, marking the first of many games between the now-crosstown rivals.

It was a back-and-forth contest requiring extra time to decide a winner, but the Nets and their new additions were able to hold off the Knicks—a team who was off to a fantastic 9-3 start.

It may have been just one game, but it signals the beginnings of an enhanced rivalry. The Knicks would be wise to acknowledge this.

The Nets are no longer one of the jokes of the Eastern Conference. The team can play—check out a review of the game—and they propose a legitimate threat to the Knicks in both the Atlantic Division and potentially in the postseason.

After play on December 3, the Nets (11-5) stand just one game back of the Knicks (12-4) in the Atlantic Division. Both teams, however, trail the Miami Heat (12-3) in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Knicks and Nets have been strangers to the top of the Eastern Conference for the past several seasons, and it seems as if they're both getting back on track at the same time.

This should add even more fuel to the rivalry.

While the Knicks have owned the New York NBA spotlight since the team's inaugural season in 1946, the Nets are looking to steal the show.

Both teams will be going at it all season long for the higher seed, making the rivalry one to pay attention to even if you are a casual New York sports fan.

The Nets are arguably the most improved team in the NBA this season, and their resurgence has caught the attention of fans in the city. Once disgraced New Jersey Nets fans can now jump on the Brooklyn bandwagon.

This increased fanbase will prevent any crowd in Madison Square Garden from being a sea of blue and orange when the two teams play. Black and white will be sprinkled throughout in attempts to drown out the cheers of their crosstown neighbors.

Situations like these will make the rivalry thrive for the remainder of this season, the postseason and the better part of the next several seasons.

Both New York franchises seem as if they've hit their stride at the right times, which should lead to an exciting few years of basketball in the Big Apple.