Just a few days ago, the Big Apple’s two basketball franchises faced each other, with the Nets defeating the Knicks 103-80. It was a case of sweet revenge for the Knicks, who has lost badly in the first cross-town rivalry in December.
However, apart from local bragging rights, little attention was paid to the two results. Both teams are sub .500 and the Knicks, in particular, are off the pace when it comes to looking at the post-season. Few people who bet on NBA would argue that this rivalry is one for the ages; the contest needs some spice added to make it worth fans’ time.
Well, first off, it would help if both teams were better. They may share a division and a city but the game itself is not going to draw more interest until both teams are playing better basketball.
Big-name players are always going to be a draw in any NBA rivalry, and the Knicks have one of those in Carmelo Anthony, but is less clear who his counterpart would be within the Nets organisation. Yes, they have both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce but both of those are too far beyond their prime to be considered a direct match for Anthony. The Nets need to find a marquee player to really make that head-to-head work and prove a talking point between the two teams.
What would spark a real contest and rivalry between the two teams would be a playoff series – regular season games are fine but there is nothing to spark the fans’ interest like a seven-game competitive post-season series. These two last met back in 2004 and, since then, the two teams have had problems, with none of them making the post-season let alone both of them. However, in the future, a real post-season head-to-head should spark major interest in New York and fuel the rivalry.
Last, but not least, wouldn’t it be fun to see the two franchises going toe-to-toe over a big name signing? Further spice can be added to that confrontation if the player they are fighting over plays (or has played) for one of the franchises previously. In the present, we might have to wait a couple of seasons before we have such a situation. As things stand, both franchises are focused on slashing their payrolls, not poaching the other team’s overpriced players. Fans may have to wait until the following summer of 2015 for a major bidding war between the teams.
This Knicks-Nets match-up has the potential to be a great rivalry; sometimes, it just takes a spark to ignite such competition. It may take a few years, but fans of NBA betting know that any one of the above sparks could well light a fire that could rage for years.