Found January 21, 2013 on Fox Sports:
For the first two months of the NBA season, the long awaited, supposedly bitter rivalry between the New York Knicks and their crosstown foes in Brooklyn wasn't playing out like much of a rivalry at all. The Knicks were for the most part thriving while the Nets were unresponsive and faltering -- to the point firing their coach became necessary. And, with 6-1/2 games already separating them after Brooklyn's loss in Milwaukee on Dec. 26, the final game of Avery Johnson's tenure as coach, all the hype promoting this can't-miss "Battle for New York" felt like much ado about nothing. This town only had one true title contender, and Brooklyn wasn't it. But after an 88-85 win at Madison Square Garden on Monday afternoon, the Nets (25-16) suddenly find themselves within a single game of the Knicks (25-14) in the Atlantic Division standings, and just 2-1/2 games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat. And the memory of that punchline of a team that lost 10 of 13 after an 11-4 start has dissipated -- a distant, unpleasant reminder of how bad things once were. "Our guys are obviously elated and they should be really proud," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "I thought that our assistant coaches really had a good game plan, but a game plan is meaningless if the guys don't execute it, and our guys made them work. That's all you can do. Nothing came easy." The Nets have thrived since Carlesimo took the reins from Johnson, going 11-2 since the former Blazers, Warriors, Sonics and Thunder head man took over. And with exactly half the season finished, they've taken themselves from the brink of the draft lottery to the middle of the hunt in the East, where seemingly anyone could emerge as No. 1. Many will point to Brooklyn's favorable schedule since Carlesimo's promotion as the source of its recent success -- and, to be sure, the Nets haven't exactly faced a murderer's row of opponents, with wins over Charlotte, Cleveland, Washington, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Toronto dotting the landscape along the way. Additionally, blowout losses to Atlanta and San Antonio haven't done the Nets any favors in the eyes of their detractors. But solid victories over the Pacers, Thunder and now a redemptive win over New York -- which beat the Nets twice in December, once in a laugher -- have shown this team's ability to hang with the league's best. And shooting guard Joe Johnson's preseason proclamation that Brooklyn was the best team in the Big Apple is looking more legitimate by the day. "That's not going to change," Johnson said when asked if he still stood by his assertion. "Did today reinforce it? I don't know. I thought we came out and played great basketball and definitely made a case." In a contest when seemingly everyone on the Nets roster played well, Johnson was the star for Brooklyn, scoring 25 points, including an isolation jumper over J.R. Smith -- who called a 2-2 season split with the Nets, "like kissing your sister" -- to give Brooklyn an 85-84 lead with 22.3 seconds left to play. Johnson scored 10 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to keep the game within reach for the Nets and has come into his own under Carlesimo, averaging 18.6 points per game since Carlesimo took over. "Joe Johnson is a heck of a player," Carlesimo said. "He's a money player, and he's been a money player his entire career. If he didn't, somebody else probably could have stepped up too, but we all feel very comfortable when Joe's got the ball in the fourth quarter." Brook Lopez had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks Monday, and Kris Humphries chipped in 11 points and 13 boards off the bench. Deron Williams, who previously called out Johnson's system during the Nets' dark days, had 14 points and 12 assists, and across the locker room, players were quick to give Carlesimo credit for the turnaround. "He's been great, I think guys are responding well to him," Williams said. "He's different than a lot of coaches I've played for with his sense of humor and his sarcasm, but he's been a straight shooter, he's defined roles, and he's done a great job of just leading this team. . . . I think, most importantly, our focus has been a lot better, our energy, our enthusiasm has been a lot better -- not only in games, but overall, and I think that translates." Now, is it possible that the Nets could have gone on this redemption tour under Johnson? Sure, but I wouldn't necessarily guarantee it. Beyond its cupcake schedule, Brooklyn has seemingly played with a new sense of pride under Carlesimo while showing a previously lacking sense of commitment to the coach's goal. It's not necessarily a good look to give up on your coach when things turn south, but that's what appears to have happened, and the Nets should be commended for stepping in and turning things around before an increasingly dire situation got worse. A tough three-game Western Conference road trip through Minnesota, Memphis and Houston beginning Wednesday will tell us a little bit more about the viability of the Nets as a true title contender, as will the subsequent homestand that includes games against Miami, Chicago and the Lakers. But in handling the Knicks on Monday, Brooklyn not only reignited a rivalry that was already in danger of becoming irrelevant -- leaving us salivating over what a playoff series between the teams might be like. It also put the Nets back in the national discussion, somewhere no one expected them to be just a few short weeks ago. "We've put ourselves in a nice position, but it's meaningless if we don't build on it," Carlesimo said. "I love where we're at at the halfway point, but we've got to continue to build and we've got to get some guys healthy and not tired and keep getting a number of people contributing, which is what we're getting right now."

Going 5:15 without scoring didn't stop Joe Johnson from silencing the so called Mecca of Basketball

Check out this clutch shot by Joe Johnson with just 22 seconds left to play that gives the Nets their first points in over five minutes and the lead and eventually the win over the Knicks at Madison... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~

Nets 88, Knicks 85

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson said his team owed the New York Knicks after dropping their last two games against their intra-city rivals. He helped pay off the debt with a huge basket late in Brooklyn's 88-85 victory at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Johnson, who scored 25 points, hit a fadeaway jumper over J.R. Smith to give the Nets an 85-84 lead with 22.3...

Josh Smith dunks on Brook Lopez

The Josh Smith days in Atlanta may be numbered but that didn’t stop him from throwing down a monster dunk in a game against the Brooklyn Nets. Smith got the rebound on the defensive end and went coast to coast and threw down a monster jam on Net’s center Brook Lopez. Follow me on twitter @ScottBasketball!/ScottBasketballAlso like the Roundballchat site...

Brooklyn Nets want Dwight Howard, proposed three-team trade involving Kevin Love and Brook Lopez

The Brooklyn Nets still want Dwight Howard. And, according to Real GM's Jarrod Rudolph, they're exploring ways to get D12 from the struggling Lakers, believing "Howard can be had for the right price." Rudolph has a whopper of a rumor: Nets GM Billy King was preparing to contact the Minnesota Timberwolves to gauge interest in a three-team deal that would have...

Report: Nets Preparing To Make Another Run At Dwight Howard

The Brooklyn Nets are preparing to make another run at Dwight Howard, according to a source. Nets general manager Billy King has closely monitored the struggling Lakers and quietly searched for a third team with an attractive piece that would help facilitate a trade that would deliver Howard to the Nets, according to sources. According to sources, King was planning to contact the...

Report: Nets are still trying to land Dwight Howard

Just one year ago, things started to get really crazy in regards to Dwight Howard and where he was heading to play. Each day, depending on which way the wind blew, he was either staying or going in Orlando. It wasn’t until the past summer that Dwight was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Brooklyn Nets failed to get a deal worked out with the Magic. But just because the...

J.R. Smith disses Kris Humphries on Twitter

Hits him with a Kanye zinger!

Nets Reassign Shengelia, Taylor To D-League

The Nets have reassigned forward Tornike Shengelia and guard Tyshawn Taylor to the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League.

Felton nearing return

The New York Knicks are close to getting their starting point guard Raymond Felton back. Felton’s been out since Christmas when he fractured his pinky finger against the Los Angeles Lakers. On Tuesday, the doctors finally cleared Felton to participate in non-contact practices, better then nothing right? Raymond Felton, out since late December with a fractured right pinky suffered...

Nets allegedly making a play for Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard doesn’t look to be fully healed from his April back surgery. With the Lakers season getting dimmer, they’ve loss nine of their last 11 games, Jarrod Rudolph of Real GM has said the Nets are ready to make a move for Dwight Howard again. According to Rudolph the Nets are planning to bring in a third team to make the trade a reality. This is the rumored trade Rudolph...

Knicks vs. Nets: How It Became A Rivalry

For 35 years, the all-time series between the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets were lackluster at best. The three playoff series’ that they had weren’t exactly classics, the most recent ending in a sweep of the Knicks by the Nets when Jason Kidd and Vince Carter were just running over guys like Stephon Marbury, and an Alan Houston at the end of his career. Now, after a move...

Joe Johnson Puts The Nets Over The Knicks – VIDEO

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.