From the talk by Mikhail Prokhorov at the draft lottery about turning Knicks fans into Nets fans to the courtship of LeBron James to the "Blueprint For Greatness", the New Jersey Nets have taken the fight to the New York Knicks off the court. Tuesday night inside Madison Square Garden, the Nets can finally try to take care of business with the basketball.
Spouting off from Prokhorov or CEO Brett Yormark might be good for headline writers, but it doesn't mean a thing if the product on the court doesn't deliver.
Despite how the Knicks and owner James Dolan have acted over the year, the Nets actually lead the all-time series 81-79. But everyone involved with this renewed rivalry will tell you it's about the future, and that begins tonight in New York City.
The Nets may already be halfway to their win total from last season, but they have been wildly inconsistent. They are 5-2 when Devin Harris scores at least 20 points, but have not been able to get him going on the road which has led to a meek of 2-7 away from Newark. Luckily for New Jersey, they are facing a Knicks team that might be .500, but only 2-5 at the World's Most Famous Arena.
Brook Lopez was supposed to be primed for a breakout All-Star season, but instead has seen his stats decline in virtually every meaningful statistical category. After only being held to single digit scoring six times all of last season, Lopez has already suffered through two of those performances through 17 games.
With head coach Avery Johnson still trying to figure out where his offense will come from when it isn't one of his captains, Harris and Lopez will need to continue carrying the majority of the scoring load.