NEW YORK – The Brooklyn Nets beat the visiting New York Knicks 96-89 in an overtime thriller in the first battle for ‘Big Apple’ bragging rights between the city rivals last night.
Brooklyn’s victory at the new Barclays Centre lifted the Nets (9-4) into a tie with the Knicks (9-4) for first place in the Atlantic Division in front of a boisterous crowd.
Tied 84-84 after regulation, the Knicks scored the first basket of the extra period but the Nets countered with eight points in a row, the last three from hustling plays by Gerald Wallace to surge to a 92-86 lead and were never threatened.
Center Brook Lopez led the Nets with 22 points, with Deron Williams and Wallace each scoring 16. Reserve player Jerry Stackhouse made 4-of-5 from three-point range and scored 14 points for Brooklyn.
Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks’ scoring leader who was born in Brooklyn, led New York with 35 points, while centre Tyson Chandler had 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting with his hoops coming from tip-ins, follow-ups and slam dunks.
Missing veteran point guard Jason Kidd, who was sidelined by back spasms, Anthony played over 50 minutes and Chandler was on the court for more than 45 minutes.
The game had been originally set to kick off the NBA season for the New York teams but was postponed due to the damage in the area caused by storm Sandy.
While that thrill was gone from this initial clash between the teams, the tension was heightened by the great start enjoyed by both in the early days of the season.
Blue-and-orange clad Knicks fans made themselves heard in the sprawling arena, which is just a 25-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan, but their chants were drowned out by the sing-song “Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn” favoured by Nets fans.
The tight, defensive battle included 14 lead changes with the score tied 13 times during the game.
In the end, the Nets’ cohesion and passing made a difference, with the winners registering 23 assists to 14 for the Knicks, a figure Brooklyn point guard Williams matched all by himself.
Other scores last night: Spurs 118, Wizards 92; Trail Blazers 101, Pistons 108; Bucks 93, Bulls 92; Cavaliers 78, Grizzlies 84; Nuggets 103, Jazz 105; Bobcats 69, Thunder 114; Hornets 105, Clippers 98.