The Brooklyn Nets–Miami Heat rivalry goes back only to the beginning of the season, and that’s due to Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and LeBron James. Most big-time rivalries are formed through constant regular season meetings and intense playoff games, but this is more of a personal matter.
When the Nets signed Garnett and Pierce this offseason, they also signed their dislikes for certain players and teams. It’s no secret Garnett felt slighted that Allen left the Boston Celtics for the Heat and he let the world be known how he felt. Pierce does not like the Heat because James plays for them and over the last few years, they have built a personal rivalry.
As a fan of the NBA, you have to love the old-school feeling you get when these two teams meet up because this is not a media-hyped dislike. This is some real playground, jailhouse hatred between the players. When the season started, many figured these would be the last two teams standing in the Eastern Conference and while the season has not quite gone as planned for the Nets, the Heat are in position to keep up their end of the bargain.
The Nets have been a team on the rise since January and are starting to play like they want to dethrone the Heat. In their two meetings so far this season, the Nets are 2-0 against the Big Three and their teammates. Just because the Heat are ahead in the standings does not mean they are taking the Nets lightly. Right now, they have bragging rights over James and co.
That might not mean too much to any other fan, but it says plenty to the fans of those two teams.
I expect this to be a hard-fought, foul-filled game as both teams will not want the other to get any momentum going. The Nets have the firepower and veteran leadership to hang with the Heat. If you want to be the best, then you have to beat the best, and the Nets have proven twice this year that they are more than up to the challenge.