We will finally get a taste of the 2011-12 NBA season Saturday afternoon when the New York Knicks travel to the Prudential Center in Newark to take on the New Jersey Nets in a preaseason matchup. It's the first of two preseason games between the rivals which will make up the only game action either team will see before the NBA regular season opens on Christmas.
All the talk surrounding the home team hasn't been on the players that will be on the court Saturday, but rather the possible acquisition of Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. Meanwhile, the visitors are already talking title with the best front court in the league consisting of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoundemire and Tyson Chandler.
The game will represent the first in many "lasts" for NBA basketball in the Garden State this season. With the Nets moving to Brooklyn in 2012-13, this is the final time they will suit up for a preseason game in New Jersey.
The game could also be a beginning of sorts. The two teams have always been rivals, but rarely have had much of a spirited rivalry. With Shawne Williams choosing the Nets over the Knicks in free agency this week and Howard potentially joining forces with Deron Williams, we just might get to see the birth of a real rivalry this season.
The Nets haven't defeated the Knicks in preseason action since 2008, spanning four games.
The game can be seen on locally on MSG and YES as well as nationally on NBA TV.