Brooklyn and Manhattan: It's a rivalry now, oh yeah.

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It's growing, this feeling that the Nets and Knicks are more than just division rivals.

They know it's a rivalry now. Ever since the Nets moved to Brooklyn, there's been a debate among Knick fans and associated pundits about whether the Nets and Knicks are a legitimate rivalry. There was the silliness from Tyson Chandler about how the rivalry isn't real until the teams go through a hot playoff series or two. (As Walt Frazier said in a wise response, it's the fans who make a rivalry, not the players.) After the Nets fell six games behind the Knicks just before the New Year, the argument was the Nets simply weren't good enough to be rivals to the championship contender Knicks.

After the Nets surprised the Knicks in yet another classic battle between the two, there's less of that. Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez both noted, publicly, that they felt they "owed" the Knicks one after the December 19 debacle. Kris Humphries joyfully pointed out that he had asked Knick fans why they so quiet after the game. Then, J. R. Smith, that paragon of taste and proportion, tweeted how the Garden was rocking when Kanye West played it a few weeks ago. (Does anyone need a tutorial on what that's about?)

Now the pundits are re-thinking whether there is a rivalry. Well except for Alan Hahn (who got dissed by his MSG colleague Wally Szczerbiak for being in denial). Carmelo Anthony gets it, though

"It’s over. We don’t see them anymore, but it is the beginning of something that’s going to be here for a long, long time.‘’ Anthony said after the game. ’’These games that we play against Brooklyn are definitely going to be tough, hard battles and as a Knick, we definitely look forward to that challenge and look forward to playing them four times.’’

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