First, it was Carmelo Anthony’s turn to give his former team everything he’s got in an effort to lead his team to victory. The forward returned from a two-game absence as the Knicks took on the Nuggets at the Garden on Sunday.
With 34 points, Anthony did not disappoint as New York blasted past Denver for a 112-106 win.
Anthony may have been up first, but now it’s Jason Kidd’s turn to scorch his former team. The floor general will face the Nets in Brooklyn on Tuesday for the first time as a Knickerbocker.
Such a rivalry has had its ups and downs over the years, but it’s also undoubtedly at its most heated point with the Nets now in the Big Apple.
With Kidd sidelined, the Knicks fell hard to the Nets last month, giving the opponent bragging rights ever since.
The Nets have been one of the more surprising teams in the NBA this season, but refreshingly so, so have the Knicks.
And the team largely has Kidd to thank for its recent success.
Kidd hasn’t been much of a stat man this season, though he is currently averaging 8.6 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Instead, his effectiveness has been all about the impact he makes when he hits the hardwood.
As the point guard continues to make key plays, it’s important he helps the Knicks take a stand in Brooklyn later Tuesday night.
In addition to defeating times like the Heat and the Spurs this season, the Knicks have also put forth gritty efforts to put away many of the rest of their opponents too.
The Nets will be no different, because in addition to also being a strong opponent, this game is also about pride. The Knicks need to prove they won’t be pushed around.
The key to a win for the Knicks tonight will be protecting home court.
You heard that right: HOME….court.
There may be chants of “Broooooooklyn!” at the Barclays Center, but Anthony needs to make sure he carries a certain homecoming momentum with him and allows the chants to be in his favor.
The Knicks are the Big Apple’s team, and they need to take advantage of that. With the game in Brooklyn being a small little blip off of New York’s otherwise long home stand to end 2012, they need to assert themselves as though they never left The Garden.
Allowing the Nets to get into their heads will knock the Knicks down for the count early on. Are talks of a heated rivalry too premature?
With many Knickerbocker fans sure to be in Brooklyn later this evening, the Knicks need to give them something to cheer about instead, and never look back.