Derrel “Jazz” Johnson, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets and its fans hope that Monday night’s victory over the New York Knicks is a sign of more positives to come.
Not only did the Nets defend their home court against the Knicks, they won the battle in the stands as well. Barclays Center was probably about 60 percent Nets fans, and the the elongated “Brooklyn” chant as the final seconds ticked off the clock were deafening. When Knicks fans in attendance would chanted “MVP” for Carmelo Anthony, Nets fans were able to drown them out with boos.
Brooklynite Akil Bakari, a passionate Nets fan since their days in New Jersey, spoke on behalf of some of the Nets longer tenured fans. “For those folks that were at the Rock (The Prudential Center) when the Knicks fans outnumbered Nets fans, you know we have come a long way,” he said. “Just to hear the Brooklyn chant for the Nets in our house. Tonight was special for the way we won the game with hustle, defense, and hard work on both ends of the floor.”
“Tonight, the team took on the character of the city it represents.”
Knicks fans were more eager to speak before the game as opposed to afterward, but some may find solace in the fact that the Knicks were without three key pieces of its rotation—Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire. Kidd missed the game due to back spasms. Stoudemire, who is expected to return to the lineup in December, and Shumpert (January) are nursing and rehabbing knee injuries and should both add to the Knicks core.
But at least until Dec. 11 when these two teams square off again, the Nets have bragging rights after emerging from round one of the intra-city rivalry victorious.
Joe Roberts, Jr., a neutral observer, summarized that point well. “99 problems, but the Knicks ain’t one,” he said of the Nets on Monday night. “[But] if they meet with Kidd, I think the Knicks win.” Roberts also pointed out Felton’s poor shooting, having gone just 3-for-19 from the field and committing five turnovers.
Dana Singleton, a Knicks fan who lives in New Jersey, dismissed the Nets win, though. “The game was very intense, which explains why it went into overtime,” she said. “So what the Nets won? It was the first borough challenge, played in Brooklyn. We’ll see them again on Dec. 11.”
Everyone that tuned in hopes that the next matchup is as exciting as the first. “They should play each other every night,” Chuck Frye, a self-proclaimed New York fan who roots for all New York teams said. “Terrific game… I was hoping that it to went to double overtime.”
“The Brooklyn Nets are for real,” he added.
And that’s something that Ricky Keeler, a Knicks fan who made the trek from Staten Island agreed with. “Both teams played solid,” he said. “But in the end, Gerald Wallace’s defense on [Carmelo Anthony] and Melo’s poor foul shooting turned out to be the difference.”
“Fans are buying into [the Nets] early because of their sold start,” he added.
Last night’s atmosphere was amazing. There were energetic fans on both sides. But after the game, Nets fans were able to cheer the loudest and proudest. Energetic and knowledgeable fans have come to support the Brooklyn Nets, and Brooklyn, the Nets, New York City, and the NBA are better because of it.
Nov. 26 may have marked the beginning of something extraordinary. We’ll find out over the course of the next season or two. But between now and then, let’s all keep our fingers crossed.