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“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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