It's not the Battle of Brooklyn, but pre-season finale offers first for Nets, Knicks

Elsa

It's the last preseason game for the Nets and Knicks, one week before they square off on Opening Night in Brooklyn. It's being downplayed publicly but the coaches are already engaged in gamesmanship on the starting lineup and how many minutes starters will play.

For the first time since February 22, 1977, two teams from New York will step on the court to play each other and for the first time ever, one of those teams will be repping "Brooklyn," not "New York." It's not the Battle of Brooklyn yet, but Wednesday's lone preseason game between the two teams is getting fans from both sides excited and making both coaches a little mysterious.

The game will be played at Nassau Coliseum, where the 1977 game was played. How long ago was that? The Coliseum was a state-of-the-art venue and the Knicks won, 100-80 with Bob McAdoo and Walt Frazier leading the way.

On the surface, the two teams are downplaying both the game and the rivalry. "Nah, it’s just another game," Deron Williams said. "This rivalry with them is getting blown up by the media, but internally, we haven’t talked about it. We haven't said anything about it. We are looking forward to playing these guys. We are looking forward to forming a rivalry. But it’s not there yet."

That's nice, but if it means nothing, how come both coaches are keeping their lineup plans secret. Mike Woodson told Knick writers that Carmelo Anthony would start at either small forward or power forward ... depending on what Nets do, He wants to see who the Nets start at PF before deciding where to put Anthony. Avery Johnson, on the other hand, told Nets writers he has a plan on how many minutes he'll give his starters ... but wouldn't divulge it.

Amare Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace, J.R. Smith and Marcus Camby are out for the Knicks. Keith Bogans is out for the Nets. The game will be broadcast locally on MSG, starting at 7:30 p.m.

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