The Nets' move across the Hudson River was supposed to serve as kindling, providing a virtual pilot light and adding more spice and flavor to their meetings with the Knicks.
But the anticipated blossoming of a natural feud hasn't happened and likely won't until there's much more at stake. These 10 meetings since the move to Brooklyn have had little bearing on the division standings.
That makes it awfully difficult to call this a genuine rivalry. "It's not cut and dried that it's not a rivalry," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "But when it gets to that level where that's all everybody is talking about in the city because both teams are good and they are going against each other and there is a lot more on the line, that's when it will be a true rivalry."
So for now, Hollins believes these games mean more to fans. "Both teams are in New York and the Knicks have been around New York for a long time. They've probably got a grass-roots group of fans that have been with them through thick and thin, their parents have been with them. So I understand all that, and when both teams are playing well and competing against each other, it's going to be even bigger and it has more of an impact on the players."
Garnett wipes glass
Kevin Garnett had a game-high 13 rebounds, collecting six on the offensive end -- the highest number by a Net this season.
"I wasn't even aware of that until you said that," Garnett said. "Coach has been stressing rebounding. It has been one of the things that obviously we've been working on, been making an emphasis for the bigs to rebound better and tonight I just did."
It's been an adjustment for Joe Johnson is still searching for his niche within Hollins' offense, as evidenced by him posting single digits in scoring in half of his previous six games. In the previous six games, he averaged 11.3 points and two turnovers, shooting 39.1 percent from the floor and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line. Just how does he fit into everything? "That's what we are figuring out now," Johnson said. "It's a process and I don't know how long it's going to take, but we'll see."