NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Jackson looked around Barclays Center and saw friends, family and familiar faces from a lifetime of New York basketball.
Mike Woodson didn’t.
The Knicks coach believed his team could go toe to toe with the Heat before it beat Miami without Carmelo Anthony on Thursday night. New York’s 20-point win in South Beach just strengthened Woodson’s opinion.
“I think it’s out there, there’s no doubt about that,” Woodson said of the notion that the Knicks can finish atop the Eastern Conference, above the Heat.
MIAMI (Reuters) – Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra does not want any “drama” but his team’s second 20-point loss to the rival New York Knicks in five weeks has certainly focused the minds of his team. The Heat, who entered Thursday’s home game against New York still stinging from Tuesday’s humbling road loss to the last-place Washington Wizards, were dominated by a Knicks team that enjoyed 18 three-pointers in a 112-92 win. …
* Heat suffer worst loss of ‘Big Three’ era * Knicks enjoy second 20-point win over Miami this season * New York move clear at top of Eastern Conference (Adds detail, quotes) MIAMI, Dec 6 (Reuters) – The Miami Heat suffered their worst home defeat of the ‘Big Three’ era as the defending NBA champions crashed to a 112-92 loss to a New York Knicks team without their star forward Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks have sole leadership of the Eastern Conference with a 14-4 record, ahead of the Heat who slip to 12-5, having also lost by 20 points to the Knicks in New York on Nov. 2. …
MIAMI — After Thursday morning’s shootaround at AmericanAirlines Arena, LeBron James said that New York is a more experienced and dangerous team now. He called the addition of Jason Kidd, his former Olympic teammate in 2008, a “key piece” to the improved Knicks.
“I think his basketball IQ is pretty much one of the highest that we have in this league, and it kind of trickles down to everyone else,” James said. “I mean, in the ’08 Olympics, he was our starting point guard, and I think he took, what, one shot a game.
Anthony Gruppuso/US PresswireJason Kidd leads the league this season in 3-point field goal percentage (51.1).The New York Knicks visit the Miami Heat tonight in a meeting of the two best records in the Eastern Conference. The Heat have revenge on the mind, as the Knicks served them with their worst loss of the season, a 20-point defeat in early November.
In five home meetings last season (two regular season, three postseason), however, the Heat had no trouble against New York, winning by an average of 15.
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.
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From Anthony’s trade to New York in Feb. 2011, until the end of the regular season, he shot a Knicks-high 42.4 percent (53-for-125) from 3-point range in D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll, spread-out offense. And now that Mike Woodson is still utilizing many of D’Antoni’s schemes, Melo is back to cooking from beyond the arc.
New York took care of the Wizards and Suns this weekend at Madison Square Garden — two teams with a combined record of 8-24 — to improve to 12-4 on the season.
They are a 7-0 at home and 6-1 against teams that are under .500.
“You have to beat the teams you’re supposed to beat,” Tyson Chandler said after his 15-point, 13-rebound afternoon against Phoenix.