After being delayed by Sandy, the most anticipated intracity sport event since the Subway Series is finally taking place tonight: the New York Knicks versus the Brooklyn Nets, at the
LIBOR Barclays Center. If you don’t have a ticket, the game is at 7 and airing on TNT. Adding to the tension, the Knicks are in first place, with the Nets in second place, just a game behind them. If you haven’t been paying attention to basketball, you may be sitting there silently with your more sports-inclined friends as they yak back and forth, when they turn to you and ask what you think. To avoid saying something like, “I think the Nets are going to throw a no-hitter,” use our handy talking points, insults and trivia to make yourself sound like a superfan of either team.
Knicks talking points
1. Carmelo Anthony is tired of being seen as a bigger bust in the 2003 draft than even Darko Milicic and is playing like it, offensively and defensively.
2. People were horrified that Mike D’Antoni was fired and replaced with Mike Woodson, but Woodson improved a woeful Atlanta Hawks team in each of his six seasons with them.
3. Tyson Chandler is the reigning defensive player of the year and it shows, with the Knicks only turning in a handful of crappy defensive performances this year.
4. The Knicks’ 3-point shooting, while unsustainable, isn’t an impossible way to win, given how they space the floor and move the basketball when they’re going well.
5. Rasheed Wallace was retired for two years, was practicing in sweatpants in the pre-season but has improbably become an important contributor for the Knicks off the bench.
Nets talking points
1. The Nets are just a game out of first place despite Joe Johnson playing like Spike Lee’s holding his kids hostage
2. It’s going to be really difficult for the Knicks to space the floor with Brook Lopez clogging up the lane.
3. Gerald Wallace is exactly the kind of long, tall defender that gives Carmelo Anthony fits, which puts the scoring load on much lesser offensive talents.
4. The Nets ease with scoring in the paint could be trouble for the Knicks if Tyson Chandler gets in foul trouble.
5. If things are going poorly, the BrooklyKnight can presumably do something for the Nets other than stand there and look stupid.
Knicks fan: “For all the hype, your team hasn’t mattered since they traded Jason Kidd.”
Nets: “For all the hype, your team hasn’t mattered since they traded Patrick Ewing.”
Terrible personal insult
Kicks fan: “You’re just some lousy transplant trying to latch on to what’s cool. Take off that f*%$ing Brooklyn Dodgers shirt and go back to Peoria.”
Nets fan: “You’re just some jerk from Long Island come to pollute our city. You’ll end up going back to the suburbs when you’ve had your fill of the city.”
Shameful ownership situation
Knicks: Where to begin? James Dolan is a dry-drunk, petulant (this is what he wore to a deposition) oligarch whose family came into possession of their wealth through a government-blessed monopoly. He’s overseen more than a decade of losing, insane personnel decisions and chaotic front office situations, and there are still occasional rumors about the return of the hated Isaiah Thomas. And that’s not even going into his vanity project white blues band, JD and the Straight Shot, which the less said about that, the better.
Nets: Not as much history and you have to step lightly lest you ruin your liberal, pro-immigration bonafides. But Mikhail Prokhorov, while not Bond-villain evil, got ahead thanks to being in bed with the Russian government. He also made a ton of money in mining, which is as bad for the environment as putting cigarettes out on someone’s chest is for humans.
Embarrassing moment for a players on the roster:
Will both teams play hard?