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An early start to Nets - Knicks madness

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Chris Trotman

The Nets have two days off until they play the Knicks at the Garden Monday afternoon, not long after the nation celebrates President Obama's second inauguration in the midst of Martin Luther King Day.

Already, the buzz has begun. Joe Johnson, who has never backed down from his July comment that the Nets are the better team in New York, was out front again Friday night. "They beat us the last two times, and we owe them."

"We’ve gotta go in there with the mind-frame that we know it’s going to be a hostile environment. And someway, somehow, we’ve gotta come out of there on top," he added.

Deron Williams saw the game in the context of the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division standings. "It’s a really big game for us," Williams said. "They’ve beaten us twice in a row. It’s a huge game. We’re only a couple games back of them, so it’s big."

But the best line was delivered by Reggie Evans, talking about the KnicksTape scandal, in which James Dolan ordered parabolic antennas aimed at Carmelo Anthony in hopes of picking up taunts directed at the MVP candidate.

"I guess they hired the feds at Madison Square Garden to record conversations and stuff. There must be some illegal stuff going on at Madison Square Garden," Evans said, presumably with a smile.

The game will be the fourth between the two clubs this season, meaning unless they meet in the playoffs, there will be no more black-and-white vs. orange-and-blue.