Joe Johnson remains steadfast in his belief that his Brooklyn Nets are better than the New York Knicks and will not relent from his preseason statement, even with the first New York City Rivalry game tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“Yeah. It’s just what I feel,” Johnson said after scoring a team-high 21 points in Brooklyn’s 98-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday afternoon. “I’m not gonna expand on it, but that’s just the way I feel.”
“I’m sure it’s going to be a hostile environment for them,” Johnson said. “Everybody’s been waiting for this moment, and we’re gonna try to come out and protect our home court.”
Deron Williams shrugged off the multiple questions but did note the game has some buzz. “There’s definitely going to be some Knicks fans in there,” Williams said. “But I don’t think it’ll be as bad as it was last year, or the year before that. You saw in the Celtics game (this season), there was some Celtics fans in the building, but two years ago, there were more Celtics fans than Nets fans. I don’t see that being a problem.
“I think it’ll be a great atmosphere. I think a lot of fans are looking forward to this game — and we are too. Hopefully it’s going to be a great rivalry for years to come.”
With both teams playing well, the Knicks (9-3) and the Nets (8-4) currently trailing by a game for first place in the Atlantic Division, it will give the game even more hype while TNT is creating a media monster about the game.
“That’s why it’s a big game. It’s not just because it’s the Knicks, it’s because they have (one of the) best record(s) in the East, and they’re a tough team, so it’s a good game for that purpose,” Williams said.
“This is a game that a lot of people have been waiting for,” Avery Johnson said. “We’re excited about it. We’re at home. I know our guys are gonna be jacked up and ready to play, but with that said, we’ve gotta be ourselves. We know what style we like to play, what tempo we like to play at. We’ve got to take care of the ball, make sure that we’re physical and mentally tough. I think it’s gonna be a great game.”
Let the rivalry begin, New York fans.
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