If Tuesday’s Knicks victory over the Nets were a boxing match, Jason Kidd landed the knockout punch in the form of a (controversial?) three-pointer, evening the NBA version of the Subway Series at one game apiece.
After the Nets jumped out to an early 21-5 lead, the Knicks proved it wasn’t insurmountable, even if it did take them until the third quarter to gain the advantage. After that, it was a slug-fest until the end, with both teams exchanging leads. Gerald Wallace and J.R. Smith both looked like they had been through heavyweight fights. Smith limped around the court clutching his back most of the night, yet refused to come out. Wallace proved once again why he’s nicknamed “Crash,” colliding with Smith in the fourth and coming out hobbled from the impact.
Despite the obvious injuries to J.R. Smith, and Raymond Felton having another disappointing game against Brooklyn, the Knicks were able to win. Carmelo Anthony put up another MVP performance; Tyson Chandler was doing all the usual Tyson Chandler things; Jason Kidd was hitting open threes and put the Nets away for good with the game winner.
It’s a funny thing about Jason Kidd: He’s third on the NBA’s all-time three pointers made list, behind Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, yet the book on him has always been – and still is – make him shoot.
The win was huge for the Knicks, both in what it means for their record – now 16-5 – and for their character. For the most part, Carmelo and Company have gotten off to hot starts and impressed in the first quarter all year long. Last night that wasn’t the case, but it didn’t bury the Knicks. Good teams overcome slow starts and New York did just that.
It might be too soon to call this a true rivalry, but the makings of it are clearly there. Both teams are competitive again. There is star power on each side and, through two rounds, we’ve had knock-down, drag-out fights. The atmosphere was incredible, just as it was a few weeks ago for the first “Battle of the Boroughs.” It certainly felt more like a playoff game in June than a regular season tilt in December.
Round Three is a week away, when the Knicks welcome the new Nets to MSG for the first time. If it’s anything like the first two games, it will be must see TV, which is something Knicks and Nets fans haven’t been able to look forward to in a long time.