New York Knicks (9-3) vs. Brooklyn Nets (8-4)
At long last, the Knicks and Nets will meet in the battle of New York. A new rivalry is born and the excitement in The Big Apple is pretty palpable. TNT reported on its pregame show that Raymond Felton compares the excitement for this rivalry to North Carolina-Duke.
Pushing it back after Hurricane Sandy might have done more to build this thing up.
There is a lot of pride on the line in this one. The Knicks have to fight for fans in Brooklyn and show that their hot start is for real and one that fans throughout the city can attach themselves to. The Nets are fighting to get a share of the Knicks' pie.
More than that though, there is the basketball game. These two teams are second and third in the East, first and second in the Atlantic Division in this early part of the season.
Both teams have had their successes and both teams have had few failures.
This is not just a battle for New York, this is a good basketball game between two good teams. Get ready for the excitement.
Other Storylines to Watch
-Jason Kidd apparently will not be playing tonight. That is a pretty big loss for the Knicks as the dual point guard lineup with him and Raymond Felton has been pretty successful. Matchup-wise that may help going up against Joe Johnson.
-To let you know how big this Knicks-Nets rivalry is already. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called any Brooklynite who cheers for the "Manhattan Knicks" treasonous. It is SO on.
Tonight's Other Games
San Antonio Spurs (11-3) vs. Washington Wizards (0-11)
The Wizards want a win. Badly. It is easy to make fun of bad teams, but these are still professionals (you hope). And the players for Washington are getting tired of the losses. The Wizards have already had several overtime losses and even just adding Nene back into the lineup made them a better team. Of course, you still have to execute and win. That is what Washington is learning to do still.
Portland Trail Blazers (6-7) vs. Detroit Pistons (3-11)
The Pistons may be struggling on the floor, but Kyle Singler has been a nice surprise as a rookie. He certainly is not struggling. And he is still himself. He has been spotted around Detroit doing his trick shot performances and getting to know his new community. Singler is averaging 9.4 points per game in starting six games this year.
Milwaukee Bucks (6-5) vs. Chicago Bulls (6-6)
A lot of things are going on with Milwaukee. There are rumors the Bucks are shopping forward Drew Gooden. More importantly, Milwaukee is hoping Brandon Jennings can make good on his promise and return tonight without missing any time after spraining his ankle this weekend. This is a big one too featuring the top two teams in the Central Division.
Cleveland Cavaliers (3-10) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (9-2)
One player in the NBA has been very concerned about world events. Cleveland's Omri Casspi is the lone player in the league from Israel and he provided some comments on the recent ramp up of violence in his homeland. Casspi, in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal, explained that people in southern Israel have been under constant rocket attack for the past dozen years and that the Israeli government finally had enough and needed to protect its citizens. That, of course, is his perspective as an Israeli but he is someone that has been on the ground in those areas as a citizen of that troubled country.
Charlotte Bobcats (7-5) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (10-4)
The one thing Mike Dunlap has done in the early part of his first year is change the culture for the Bobcats. Nobody had them sitting above .500 and matching their win total from last year this soon. In fact, Dunlap probably does not want any more references to last year. This Charlotte teams has moved forward and is played very well so far.
Denver Nuggets (8-6) vs. Utah Jazz (7-7)
Would you believe JaVale McGee is playing this well for the Nuggets, in that thin air, while still fighting off asthma symptoms? Asthma is not something that goes away and is a condition that can only be managed (remember Reggie Miller needing a mask to breathe during some games in his career?). But McGee has done well. This year, he is averaging 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game off the bench this season.
New Orleans Hornets (3-9) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (8-5)
Anthony Davis could be out an additional two weeks as he recovers from a stress reaction in his left ankle. In his stead, Ryan Anderson has stepped up and proven he can hit shots without a center in the middle drawing defenders into the paint. Anderson is averaging 17.8 points per game while shooting 45.1 percent from beyond the arc.