New York, New York: Knicks, Nets meet Monday


New York, New York: Knicks, Nets meet Monday

NEW YORK (AP) From Madison Square Garden to the Garden State, the Knicks cast a shadow the Nets could never escape.

The Knicks were considered first rate and the Nets second class, even in years when the better team was in New Jersey. The Nets would watch fans in orange and blue take over their home games, believing all along things would be different when they finally got their shot at the Knicks in Brooklyn.

Well, here it comes.

The city rivals play the makeup of their postponed season opener on Monday, a matchup the Knicks insist is just another game but one that's probably much bigger to the Nets.

``I think obviously being on center stage tomorrow night, all eyes on Brooklyn, truly makes this a very special night for us because it's something that we worked for, for so long,'' Nets CEO Brett Yormark said Sunday. ``Even though it's not opening night, it's a dramatic night. I mean, the Knicks are playing well, the Nets are playing well, Brooklyn's certainly embraced this franchise, and I think tomorrow night is hopefully the start of some really special nights between the Nets and the Knicks.

``Yeah, I'd love to win the game, but it's more than that. It's about making a statement that this franchise has arrived and we are certainly part of the conversation when people are talking about pro basketball in New York.''

Yormark sought to host the Knicks for the Barclays Center opener and that's what the NBA scheduled, but the game was postponed when Superstorm Sandy halted most subway travel to Brooklyn. It becomes in some ways more intriguing now with both teams off to strong starts, the Knicks (9-3) leading the Atlantic Division by one game over the Nets (8-4).

First matchup, first place on the line. Sounds big enough for a regular-season game, just don't call it a rivalry. At least, not yet.

``I think that word's been thrown around. I think we hope that it does become that, but you know the Brooklyn Nets are apparently different than the New Jersey Nets and this is a new beginning,'' Knicks forward Steve Novak said. ``So I think to call it a rivalry before it started is a little bit early, but I don't think there's any question it's going to be a good game.''

Among the Knicks, only Carmelo Anthony, a Brooklyn native whom the Nets desperately tried to acquire to be the franchise centerpiece for their move, seemed to view the game as anything special. Jason Kidd, who led the Nets to their greatest NBA success back when they owned the Knicks but never the New York area, called it ``just another game on the road.''

``I've been saying consistently that a rivalry comes through playoffs and hard-fought games. It just doesn't come from a team moving and two good teams in one year. It has to go throughout history,'' Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. ``Honestly, I don't buy too much into the whole situation, the rivalry. I don't consider it a rivalry. I don't think - it hasn't been enough. Honestly, I feel more animosity towards the Heat and the Celtics than I do the Nets.''

But the Nets, even the ones who didn't endure the many miserable years in New Jersey, know what it means to the franchise and their fans, many of them new and some of them even Knicks fans who converted.

``It should be a hostile environment for them so to speak,'' Nets guard Joe Johnson said. ``I think it will be fun. I think everybody has been waiting for this moment and we're going to come out and protect the home court.''

Games in New Jersey, where the Nets played in multiple spots for 35 years after leaving Long Island, often felt like Madison Square Garden West. Knicks fans sometimes appeared to make up two-thirds of the crowds, Knicks players trying to hide their amusement and the Nets their frustration.

The Nets think they've got a much stronger fan base now, with about 11,000 season tickets sold, and they know they'll see a good balance of fans dressed in their black Monday night.

``There's definitely going to be some Knicks fans in there, but I don't think it will be as bad as it was last year and the year before that,'' Nets guard Deron Williams said.

The game will be televised on TNT and Yormark said some 100 media members are expected. The Nets, 6-1 in their $1 billion arena, may have to guard against being too hyped up - though that won't be a problem for at least one of them.

``You're talking to a person, this is my 11th year in the league. I've played the Knicks about 100 times. It's just another game to be honest with you,'' forward Reggie Evans said. ``I think it's big for a lot of people on the outside, but we just approach the game like a regular game. If we win we're not going to be all in the middle of the court like `Oh, oh!' We're not going to be popping no champagne.''

Former Nets coach Lawrence Frank said the series always lacked the competitiveness to be a true rivalry, because the Knicks beat the Nets for so many years but then almost never did when Kidd was there from 2001-08. Now, he says, it could finally get there with both teams on a similar upward path.

``It's good for the metropolitan area when both teams are doing well, it just hasn't happened a whole lot when both teams were good at the same time. They've kind of taken turns,'' said Frank, now coaching Detroit. ``Now that they're both highly competitive, I think it's good for the area.''

Even the Knicks acknowledge the rapid rise of their rivals, Anthony saying he's watched their games and gotten goose bumps when fans chant ``Brook-lyn! Brook-lyn!'' They will get a good look at the Nets with the teams meeting three times over the next 3 1/2 weeks, twice in Brooklyn.

Perhaps those other ones will feel like regular games for everyone, as the Knicks say they are. For now, the first one isn't to the team that now shares their city.

``In an 82-game schedule, the way I look at it, every game's important, but there are those special games, you know what I mean?'' Yormark said. ``And tomorrow I think is one of those special games. It means a little bit more.''


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Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

USA Today Sports

Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

Braden Holtby has made Barry Trotz’s weekend very difficult, but in a good way.

Back-to-back games against the New York Islanders offered the Capitals an opportunity to play both Philipp Grubauer and Holtby. Grubauer stayed hot earning another win for Washington. On Friday, Holtby got his first start since March 6 and played very well.

“A win is good,” Holtby said after the game. “I felt pretty comfortable. Some things to build off of and things that I want to get better at. It was a step in the right direction.”


A 22 save effort on Friday was bookended by two big saves. The first shot Holtby faced was a turnover on the power play that led to a dangerous shorthanded scoring opportunity for John Tavares early in the first period. Then in the third, with the Capitals leading 5-3 and the Islanders trying to mount a comeback, Holtby turned aside a breakaway opportunity for star rookie Mathew Barzal.

“I thought he was pretty solid,” Trotz said. “He looked really confident.”

“I felt a lot better,” Holtby said. “Not that I was feeling horrible before, it's just you get refreshed. It's like anything, you have a week off work, a holiday or something, you come back a little refreshed.”

And that brings us to Sunday.

On Sunday, the Capitals play the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are a team in playoff position in desperate need of points after seven of their last eight games.

When asked on Wednesday who he thought would start Sunday’s game, Trotz said, “We're in a result business and we need some results so we'll see who is looking the sharpest and gives us the best chance to win.”

Both Grubauer and Holtby were impressive in their starts over the Islanders. You can’t argue Holtby is suddenly the hotter hand after one win considering how well Grubauer has played of late, but if Holtby remaisn the team’s No. 1, shouldn’t he get the next start after a strong winning performance?


Trotz was asked after the game who would start on Sunday after Holtby’s win.

“They're both playing well so I can't even answer that right now to be honest with you,” he said. “I do know that we have a number of games this week and whatever way go, obviously I'm going to sit down with the coaches and whatever way we go, I think they're both going to get some time this week.”

“I think you have to take it game-by-game,” Trotz added. “Bottom line is that you've got to make a decision and go with it and if your decision is that goalie A is a little hotter or you've just got a gut feel then you go with it and you have to live with it good or bad.”

So for now, it sounds as if we will see a rotation in net as Trotz continues evaluating which netminder gives the team the best chance to win in the playoffs. It is a tough position for the Caps’ bench boss, but, if both goalies continue to perform, having to choose between a hot Grubauer and a resurgent Holtby is a good problem to have and much preferable to having to choose between backup Grubauer and slumping Holtby.

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Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

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Not only did UMBC own Virginia on the court, they owned the Twitter world

They said it could not be done, no No. 16 seed would ever beat a No. 1 seed. The odds would be too great and the obstacle too steep.

As we all know, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), just proved that all wrong.


All season the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers dominated their opponents. They dictated pace, held opponents to less than 55 points, and smothered teams by forcing turnovers.

The roles filled on Friday evening and with an up-tempo 74-54 victory, UMBC proved the impossible.

The hardwood is not the only place that UMBC owned last night, they grabbed headlines, attention, and thousands of fans (literally) on Twitter.

Someone grabbed a hold of the UMBC Athletics Twitter account and took the upset by storm.

It all started when Seth Davis poked the bear:

and they were relentless.

Oh yeah, I forgot Seth Davis:

Then they started get snarky and owning everyone:

As someone the graduated from a commuter school, I can relate:

More Seth Davis:

Back to Twitter:

I guess that application wave actually was a thing or people wanted to know what ‘UMBC’ stood for:

Game. Set. History.

Now here come the shots against other schools:

Yeah, don’t jump on this bandwagon Terps fans. Stay in College Park:

I did not take long for other social media icons to start reaching out:

Oh and Seth Davis eventually did apologize:

Started the night at 5,588 and jumped up to 51.7 K. No one cares what you think Steven:

If you liked what you saw thank Zach Seidel, not an intern, not a student athlete who provided those tweets last night.

Zach, you just earned yourself a raise and we’ll see you in the Second Round.