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The Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks are both middling teams that aren’t expected to make it to the NBA Finals in 2017. However, both are playoff contenders and recently faced off in a game that had playoff intensity.

Early in the game on Dec. 28, Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony was ejected from the game for throwing an elbow at Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha. The teams went back and forth for four quarters and the final period ended with a tie score. The Hawks eventually pulled out a 102-98 victory.

But while the game remained intense on the court, it was equally as heated in the stands at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Thousands of New York Knicks fans filled the arena and made their voices heard. They screamed when the Knicks scored and booed loudly when the Hawks players’ were at the free throw line. It was odd for an NBA team to actually get booed while they were at home while leading on the scoreboard. But when it comes to Atlanta and New York, the cities are close in more ways than one.

Atlanta has become a city where many New Yorkers now call home. With rising costs in rent and homeownership in New York, many residents have come South for a cheaper cost of living. Atlanta also provides a vibrant urban scene that appeals to former New York residents.

So when it comes to the Hawks and Knicks, the rivalry goes beyond the court because of the influx of New York residents who reside in Atlanta. For the Hawks, it’s a gift and curse to exist in a city that is attractive to people who once lived in the so-called, “Greatest city in the world.”

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Jamie Thompson

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents music, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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