If you've been to a shopping mall this week, you can fully appreciate the soulless, market-driven effectiveness of this matchup. The first week of November is the time when shops begin their Christmas blitz, and you find yourself thinking, "What the hell? We're still like three weeks away from Thanksgiving!" Still, when you hear that Christmas music and see that tinsel, you can't help but start making a mental list of family and friends who will require Christmas gifts.
Knicks-Nets is the sports equivalent of early November shopping mall Christmas music. Both exploit sensitive emotional triggers (Christmas is coming! I should be excited for a rivalry game!) to sell something that hasn't quite been earned naturally.
ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk decried the lack of "sizzle" in this season's edition of the cross-borough battle, wishing these two teams would get back to that old-school Knicks-Nets contention. Then he cites these highlights:
- Paul Pierce promising to turn New York into a Nets city during the 2013 offseason. Not really basketball.
- Mikhail Prokhorov's "Blueprint for Success" billboard outside the Garden. Not really basketball.
- Tim Thomas' "fugazy" insult of Kenyon Martin. Tim Thomas is and always has been only vaguely basketball.
Honestly, what was the last organic on-court rivalry moment for these two teams? Jeremy Lin vs. Deron Williams was a fun two games -- now Lin is on his third team, and Williams is more albatross contract than man.
To the outside world, both of these franchises are depressing as hell, but within the confines of the rivalry, the Nets clearly look like the better team at the moment. Yet Knicks fans can sit back smugly and embrace the bigger picture, we hope.
Would you rather be the king of New York in 2014-15, or the New York franchise that controls its own first-round draft pick for once? Would you rather have Joe Johnson (incredible thus far, averaging 22.0 points per game on a 58.5 true shooting percentage) or Amar'e Stoudemire (EXPIRING CONTRACT)?
The Nets look poised to win this game. Johnson, Mirza Teletovic, Mason Plumlee and even Alan Anderson have been playing better than pretty much anyone on the Knicks. Kevin Garnett looks finished, but he will probably pull a double-double out of his ass because he is a damned shit weasel. Hell, the Nets even have Jerome Jordan to exact bloody revenge on the franchise which turned him loose all those years ago.
Yet, it doesn't really matter. Yet, it does really matter. I hear the music and I think of Christmas; I see the Nets and I think of hatred. I should be above all this, but I'm not. So once more unto the breach, Brooklyn. You're fugazy...you're all fugazy...and the Knicks are coming for you.
P.S. Fuck Kevin Garnett. Fuck him for all eternity.