With the arrival of the Brooklyn Nets and their shiny new arena I have been reading a lot of articles about how awesome the Barclays is, how great going to a Nets game is, and how terrible MSG is. What? People are talking down to MSG? I am a Knicks fan and I know that frowning upon the sacred halls of Madison Square Garden is forbidden.
Let me begin by saying that yes it could be improved, yes it is old, and yes it is not as "over the top" as the Barclays. But in that very sentence lies my point, it is not over the top! I have gone to a game in each arena in the last month. I would like to begin this by saying I preferred MSG but maybe it was just because of the games I saw. Below I want to take a look at each experience on gameday as well as a little basketball analysis of my own, after all this is basketball blog!
Nets 97, Bobcats 81. Dec 28th
Getting to the Game: This was actaully much easier than expected. I don't know Brooklyn too well but on the Nets website the champion the phrase " Eleven Trains. One Destination. Barclays Center." So I took their advice and took a line into the Atlantic-Avenue station and I was right there. Would have been silly to have it any other way, so good job Nets. Walking around the rejuvenated neighborhood made me smile a bit because after all who doesn't want an economic boost and face lift to a storied NY area. I would also like to pause and mention the round screen outside the front which the call the oculus. That thing is pretty crazy, an awesome design, and cool. But then again does it really have a point other than the wow factor. Another thing that impressed me was the color, it was mad somewhat rusty to look better among the brick in the neighborhood. Smart move, looks good.
Inside the Arena: I will keep this short but there was something a bit different about the inside. I felt like it was trying to impress me, which maybe is what an arena is supposed to do, maybe I just wanted to not like it? I don't want to get into ticket prices and seats because that is the same for all arenas, it just depends on what you want to spend.
Short Game Analysis: This was the first game without Avery Johnson and they played pretty well. Sure they were playing the Bobcats but I thought the team looked good, And Brook Lopez was the best player on the court. I also noticed Marshon Brooks a bunch. I know some people thought the Knicks should have grabbed him instead of Schumpert. He look explosive, but it's much to early to pick a winner or loser.
Knicks 96, Celtics 102. Jan 7th
Getting to the Game: I am no MSG regular but I have made the trip a few times and it sure isn't hard. I just make my way into Manahttan from Conn, park in a lot on west 89th (I even put it in a google map from other travelers) , I looked it up and it's mostly used for nyc commuter parking, so in the evening there are always spots while people file out. From there is a quick walk to the train on 86th and Broadway, then its downtown to MSG. I like parking there because riding a train to the game is exciting and it makes for a quick exit after the game.
Inside the Arena: The classic MSG for Knicks and Celtics, can anyone complain. I guess we all can because the Knicks lost and the Carmelo thing blew up? But from a pre-game viewpoint it was paradise. MSG is such a great venue for a great game and I actually heard some staff chatting about how things are about to get crazy because hockey is now back, I don't envy the guys who have to change ice to hardwood everyday! As much as I will admit that if the arenas were reversed I would love a shiny palace for the Knicks, I don't mind have the ever classic MSG on my side.
Short Game Analysis: I bet everyone can analyze this game from the amount of tv coverage it received after the KG-Melo drama, but other than that the C's looked surprisingly good without Rondo. Jeff Green had a nice game off the bench and Jared Sullinger does NOT look 6-9, I even had to look that up. As for the Knicks it really felt like they missed 30 3's to me. They missed 18 and still had a good percentage, but some of JR & Melo's errant misses wear on you. I also watched Amare, as it was his first game back. He looked a bit sluggish, but what do you expect. I hope they find a good way to mix him off the bench. If he and Chandler can lock down the paint on the defensive end this team could be scary good in my opinion.
In conclusion: This post was way longer than I thought it would be! But In the end, Barclays is pretty cool, MSG is the ultimate classic, and it was easy to see that the Knicks at this point are a much better team than the Nets, but who wouldn't love an all-NY playoff matchup? (Probably the Nets because they would lose!)