Nets Win Battle of NY, Gain Major Respect
Technically, the Brooklyn Nets reign as a basketball franchise began on Nov. 3.
But, for all intents and purposes, the Nets season really began with a bang on Monday night, when they ousted the rivaled New York Knicks in overtime, playing the rescheduled season-opening game at Barclays Center.
With virtually the entire country watching on national television, the Nets and Knicks put on a dazzling playoff-like performance in front of a near-sellout crowd in Brooklyn, setting the stage for an immense in-state rival.
With the teams jumping back-and-forth in a fast-paced game all night, the fans joined in as well. With a fairly even crowd, chants supporting both the Knicks and Nets went back-and-forth at each other as well, creating a hectic and exciting playoff environment, something the Nets haven't played in front of at home in nearly a decade.
That type of environment is something Nets coach Avery Johnson and point guard Deron Williams said they had been waiting for since they became part of the Nets two years ago.
Point-blank, the win means a lot for Brooklyn. With a good starting record, a loss would have portrayed that it isn't ready to play with the big boys of the NBA just yet. Likewise, the win proved that it is right there and this team, right now, is a championship-caliber one.
Naturally, there are still a lot of people in New York that are split between the Nets and the Knicks, and it's certainly arguable that Monday's win did a lot to sway those people in favor of Brooklyn's black and white.
Fans of the Nets' days in New Jersey will be quick to inform people that there have been few bright spots in the franchise's NBA history. Reaching back-to-back finals appearances are among the highlights, but there are many, many more downfalls, and a handful have come at the hands of the Knicks.
But, Monday could be the true turning point for the Nets. It could be a night that is looked back at as the day where Brooklyn established themselves as an NBA franchise. It could be the time when, for one night, they were better than the boys from Manhattan.
Who knows, it could be the beginning of a championship run.