More than a prelude, Wednesday is a test of Brooklyn Nets confidence

Bruce Bennett

Whatever bragging rights can be won Wednesday night have a shelf life of eight days. The preseason finale is but a preliminary to next Thursday's big ticket at Barclays Center. Still, tension is building for the first NBA game between two New York teams since February 1977. That game took place at Nassau Coliseum. So does this one.

When the marketing people choose "Of course, it's personal" as a slogan, it's hard for the basketball people to deny there's a rivalry. And with Wednesday's preseason game between the Nets and Knicks prefiguring the city's hottest sports ticket in years, there are fewer and fewer people inside the locker rooms denying it ... at least in Brooklyn.

The main reason for the intensity that's driving the average ticket price for next Thursday closer and closer to $1,000 is of course the Nets emergence as a city team. The Nets, with their new arena new colors and new team, are cool, but they have yet to be tested. Wednesday night in Nassau Coliseum is the prelim. It may not mean anything in the standings, and whatever it means in bragging rights has a one-week shelf life. Still, fans understand it's going to be seen as a test of whether the Nets, in particular, can handle the pressure.

"Obviously that [the pressure] comes with the territory. There's been a lot of pressure, a lot of excitement, a lot of attention," Brook Lopez told AP, "but we're very confident in ourselves."

The game airs on MSG at 7:30 p.m.

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