Earlier this week, Kyrie Irving stirred up Knicks fans by saying that the Nets "were going to take over the entire city."
But after Friday night's 113-109 win over the Knicks at Barclays Center, Irving, who hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute, downplayed the Knicks-Nets rivalry.
"It was more like a subway rivalry back when they played for New Jersey. But now that they're in Brooklyn it's like a battle for who runs New York City. I don't know. I'm not part of that," Irving said after the game. "It's a good team down there in New York City, Manhattan. I think it's more from the perspective of the fans that really build that [rivalry] up than the players.
"We all have a mutual respect, but obviously when they're both in New York, it's like a - I guess it's supposed to be like a rivalry atmosphere. I don't know. I grew up watching the Nets and Knicks play. When the Nets used to go to MSG, I think that was more of an emphasis on that, but now the Nets happen to be in Brooklyn, it just makes it a lot more fun to go out there and hear boos from the Knicks fans out there. It's all good."
Kyrie Irving on the Knicks-Nets rivalry:- SNY (@SNYtv) October 26, 2019
"What rivalry? It was more like a subway rivalry back when they played for New Jersey. But now that they're in Brooklyn it's like a battle for who runs New York City. I'm not part of that" pic.twitter.com/7Af1U2fWQl
At an event on Tuesday, Irving suggested that many fans in the city had converted to becoming Nets fans.
"Brooklyn's a place where they've built up everything around here, different residents are in here now. It's just a different culture," Irving said. "But the same people that have supported New York basketball are still here and they support the Brooklyn Nets now. It's just a respect thing. If you can play, they'll respect you."
Irving led all scorers on Friday night with 26 points, and his last-minute three over RJ Barrett gave Brooklyn the lead for good.