The NBA season is still young as teams test their rosters and search for the right combinations. With the first Friday schedule of the regular season ready to tip-off, there is one match-up that has more meaning than just an early season game.
The Miami Heat are set to take on the Brooklyn Nets as the two teams meet for the third time in less than a month. It will be the first regular season face-off between the defending champs and the new-look Nets, but f the preseason was any sort of a preview this will become a brutal rivalry rather quickly.
Much of the animosity and negativity between these two squads can be credited to the blockbuster trade that sent former Boston Celtics Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. Along with their basketball sneakers, the trio brought the bitterness that had developed between Boston and Miami.
The scenery may have changed and the jerseys are a different color, but the faces are all too familiar and the bad blood continues to run thick.
There is no question that this new rivalry will continue to fester throughout the season and deep into the playoffs. It is important to both teams to be the first to draw blood.
For Miami, this may be the most important game of the first 20 on the schedule. LeBron James has exchanged some words with Pierce and Garnett off the court and the Nets have played physical in the preseason. There has been plenty of talk, and now it’s time to walk.
It is obvious that the Nets have little, if any respect for the Heat. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James must come out strong and prove they are top dogs because apparently back-to-back titles is not impressive to Brooklyn.
Ray Allen also needs to have a strong outing and show up his ex-teammates. After all, he left for South Beach and was overly criticized for his decision, but Pierce and Garnett are still considered saints.
The basketball season may only be four days old and Miami still has 79 games to play, but it is time to send a message to Brooklyn and the league. Crush the Nets’ confidence early and set the tone for the rest of the year.