If the 2020-21 NBA season taught us anything, it’s that the rivalry between the Nets and Knicks is still very much there. All it took to reignite the flames was a superteam in Brooklyn and the most exciting Knicks team in eight years.
And even though the fourth-seeded Knicks took an early postseason exit after being ousted in five games in their first-round series against the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, that’s done little to stop the crosstown chirping between the two sides. Knicks fans are still revved up as the Nets continue their run for an NBA title, and Nets fans are pushing back.
In fact, some members of the organization are even pushing back.
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Nets CEO Weighs in on Nets-Knicks
The sentiment all along has been that the Knicks are New York City’s team — not the Nets. Knicks fans have been ever vocal about that point, and the Nets aren’t necessarily claiming otherwise.
“We really want to represent Brooklyn and be authentic to Brooklyn,” Nets CEO John Abbamondi told Bloomberg News, via the New York Post. “We’re not the New York Nets, we’re the Brooklyn Nets and there’s a difference.”
How’s that for a mic drop?
It appears that Knicks fans’ biggest contention with the Nets — that they’re not NYC’s team — is something the Nets are not only OK with, but embracing.
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Nets Taking 2-0 Series Lead to Milwaukee
After thrashing Milwaukee in a 39-point win in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series, the Nets now must fend off the Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Milwaukee went 26-10 at its home venue during the regular season.
“People play a lot more comfortable when they’re at home,” Nets star Kyrie Irving said after his team’s Game 2 win, via nba.com. “They’ve able to see their families, they’re able to prepare. They’re able to get the shots, they’re able to weight lift, they’re able to do the little things that keeps them in their routine or comfortable. So, we just want to come in and break their rhythm a little bit. Understand that runs are gonna happen. They’re on their home floors. Those guys are looking for a response game and we just have to be prepared. It’s simple. The fans aren’t going to come on the court and block anybody’s shots or do anything and that makes a difference in our communication. So, we just have to make sure we’re doing those little things.”
Among those little things: offensive unselfishness. It was a key factor in Game 2 as five different Nets had double-digit point totals, including Irving’s 22. A byproduct? Brooklyn was remarkably efficient shooting the ball, with a 52.1 percent clip from the field and a 50 percent mark from 3-point range.
Offensive unselfishness is something that will have to continue for the Nets as the series turns to Milwaukee, Irving said.
“That’s how you play the game the right way,” he said, via nba.com. “You know, we are very special individually but the selflessness which you’re referring to is really what creates the difference. Defense is going to win us games down the stretch, but offensively playing the right way and trusting one another is — those little plays that make the difference towards the end of the game where we don’t have to go for it all right then and there wherever the score is. So, like I said, this team, we’ve grown so much and we continue to do so.”