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Joe Johnson Doesn’t Back Off Preseason Prediction That Nets Are Best Team In NYC

Joe Johnson (credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Joe Johnson (credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Round three of basketball’s version of the Subway Series will take place at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

The Nets took the first meeting in Brooklyn, winning an overtime thriller, and the Knicks got revenge at Barclays Center on December 11.

Both games came down to the wire, and now the rivalry shifts to Manhattan.

The Knicks, at 18-6 and in first place in the Atlantic Division, have been the better team this season. The Nets started out hot but have lost six of their last 10 games to fall to 13-11.

You could say that the Knicks own New York at the moment, but don’t tell Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson that.

Before the season started, the six-time All-Star said that Brooklyn would overtake the Knicks and rule the city.

It hasn’t turned out that way 24 games into the season, but the 11-year veteran isn’t shying away from his initial statement.

He’s standing by his bold prediction.

“I said what I said,” Johnson told the New York Daily News. “That’s it.”

Johnson isn’t playing at a particularly high level in his first year in Brooklyn, averaging 16.8 points on just 42.8 percent shooting.

And he knows that Wednesday night will be no easy task for his team.

“We’re going in front of a hostile crowd,” Johnson said. “We just have to play with a sense of urgency and a chip on our shoulder.”

The veteran scored just eight points in the first meeting between these two teams, and then dropped 16 points in the rematch.

“It doesn’t really matter now — I said it,” Johnson said. “We just need to go in and get a win.”

What is your prediction for round three at MSG? Let us know in the comments section below…