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Knicks-Nets Battle for New York Supremacy Still Too Close to Call

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks dribbles against Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center on December 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2013

Both the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks dropped games on Monday night, Brooklyn losing to the Philadelphia 76ers, 106-97, and the Knicks losing to the Golden State Warriors, 92-63.

Each was an ugly loss—Brooklyn because of the team it came to and New York because of the extreme deficit. Both left us looking at each team with many questions and few answers.

New York sits at 38-23, while Brooklyn is sitting at a solid 37-27, just 2.5 games behind their cross-city rivals.

So who is poised to take the lead by season's end? Brooklyn's new brawlers or the men of Manhattan? 

The first third of the season made it seem as if the Knicks would blow the Nets out of the water.

Brooklyn was excellent at times, and terrible at others, while the Knicks were just flat-out excellent, dominating the Eastern Conference and knocking down three-pointers at an historic rate. Now the race between the two is a lot closer than it would have seemed a few months back.

New York's first two months were played at well above .500, throwing together a 21-9 record before the calendar rolled over to 2013. Since the three-pointers aren't falling as frequently, and they're sitting at a fine, but far less impressive, 17-13.

After averaging over 102 points per game in November and December, New York is down to an even 100-point average on the season.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn's first two months were extremely up-and-down, winning 11 in November and losing 11 in December to throw together a 16-15 record by New Year's Eve. Ever since, they've flattened out their lows and kept most of their highs, going 21-11, playing at a higher level than New York recently.

Brooklyn has stayed rather solid all season long in terms of offensive output, starting out scoring just under 96 points per game, dropping to a 95-point average on the season at this point.

Both teams have proven imperfect for the duration of the season, having a rough time keeping completely healthy teams on the court and putting their teams together in a way that they can stay stable for the remainder of the season.

From Raymond Felton, Rasheed Wallace, Amar'e Stoudemire, Jason Kidd and Carmelo Anthony, to Deron Williams' balky knees, Gerald Wallace and nicks and knacks here and there, injuries are a way of life with these teams.

Both are in ridiculous financial situations, with a quagmire contract apiece and tons of money guaranteed through the next few seasons and little room for improvement via free agency this summer.

In head-to-head battles, they're about as even as they are on paper at this point. The two battled to a 2-2 tie on the season, New York coming out on top, when scores are combined, 374-367. Just seven points separate the two teams through four games.

Over the course of the final few months of the season, New York and Brooklyn will face dissimilar schedules, as Brooklyn has dealt with a slightly tougher schedule up to this point, and New York will continue to play without Stoudemire.

Brooklyn has very little ground to cover before passing the Knicks, and if New York plays like they did against the Golden State Warriors, things could get very interesting between the two boroughs. 

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