While the Nets will never win a head-to-head popularity contest with the Yankees, the boys from Brooklyn have arguably converted a few Knicks fans and are poised to knock that other Madison Square Garden team — the playoff-bound Rangers — off the city tabloids' back pages as well.
Thanks to making the playoffs for a second straight year — something the Knicks weren't able to do — the Nets have top billing as the lone NYC team in the NBA playoffs.
And that accomplishment across the East River didn't go unnoticed by one Nets veteran.
"I think it will be good for us," Deron Williams said before the Nets' 109-98 loss to the Knicks Tuesday night. "I think it's good for our brand, good for Brooklyn basketball. You know, it's a part of the takeover."
While the Melo-less Knicks had them looking more like a bunch of lightweights last night, the Nets have the satisfaction of knowing their crosstown rivals will be punching their sofa pillows while watching the playoffs from home.
And, as the happy Nets coach Jason Kidd said, "No one got hurt."
A win over the Knicks would've knocked the Nets into the fifth seed, but they could drop to sixth if they also lose tonight's season finale in Cleveland and the Wizards beat the Bobcats.
And the Nets aren't exactly streaking at the moment. They have lost three of their last four games, both to non-playoff teams.
Even so, the Nets 34-16 overall record this calendar year is the second-best of any East team and sixth-best in the league.
"You look forward to it now," Paul Pierce said of the postseason. "Definitely, it's that time of the year. You get the chills. It's sort of the time you look outside, the weather is getting warm. The playoffs are here. It's an exciting time of the year. Everybody loves being in the playoffs."
Ask the Knicks.
Ask the Knicks.