Madison Square Garden has been waiting for top tier basketball to come back for a while now.
Last season Knicks fans were temporarily entertained by the great story of Jeremy Lin, but this year they have something else to cheer for — the top spot in the Eastern Conference and their superstar Carmelo Anthony playing at the level that everyone expected when he first arrived in the Big Apple.
New York currently sits atop the Eastern Conference standings and is looking to be a serious title contender. The city couldn’t be happier; the Knicks have defeated the defending champion Miami Heat twice this season and have handled their schedule very well thus far.
But just down the road comes a new player in the New York basketball rivalry, the recently relocated Brooklyn Nets who made their move from New Jersey.
The Nets, who had played in New Jersey since 1977, have found themselves a new home in Brooklyn; they are currently in the playoff hunt and have had a decent season thus far.
Led by Deron Williams, who some believe to be the best point guard in the NBA, the Nets have brought excitement to Brooklyn.
Earlier this season the Nets defeated the Knicks 96-89 in overtime in the first meeting of the new rivalry. The game was exciting and got the NBA’s attention that there might be something special happening between these two teams.
On Dec. 11, the Knicks returned to Brooklyn and got their first win over the relocated Nets with a 100-97 victory, in the game Anthony scored 45 points to lead his squad to the win. After two games it became very clear that this rivalry was picking up.
Eight days later, on December 19, the Knicks played host to the Nets in Madison Square Garden where they picked up their second straight win over the Nets 100-86, this one came a little easier for New York but what was fun to see was the MSG crowd getting hostile towards their new rivals for the first time.
The Knicks are clearly the better team, more complete at all levels and are on pace to finish in first in the East. The Nets do not have the same talent as New York but can still compete. As the Nets grow expect for this rivalry to grow as well.
There are a lot of good teams in the NBA that could all compete for a title, it is unclear if the Nets will be able to make their way through the playoffs this season but you can certainly look out for New York to do some damage.
In years to come expect to see the New York/Brooklyn rivalry become a huge factor in the Eastern conference, both teams are young and talented and are making improvements every game.
Now both the Nets and the Knicks still have to deal with the defending champions down in Miami, but if they continue to improve they might be able to overcome the Heat and make themselves champions.
New York has already defeated Miami twice this season, but what really counts is the playoffs.
Both New York and New Jersey are poised to make the playoffs, and who knows maybe they will meet up for an exciting series.
All that is certain is that there is a new rivalry in the State of New York and it will be fun to watch.
Tyler Rollason is a Winder-Barrow High School graduate and mass communications major at the University of West Georgia. You can e-mail comments about this column to