Nets top Knicks in overtime battle for N.Y.
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK — The Knicks vs. Nets used to be a soulless series between two teams in close proximity, one in New York and one in New Jersey.
That changed Monday night at the $1 billion Barclays Center, when the Nets beat the Knicks 96-89 in a thrilling overtime affair.
Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks, but Deron Williams’ 14 assists and Jerry Stackhouse’s 14 points and four 3-pointers helped the Nets prevail in overtime.
In metro New York, the Nets had been largely marginalized, except for Finals appearances 2002 and 2003. In fact, when the Knicks played the Nets in New Jersey, it was a pro-Knicks crowd, something Nets coach Avery Johnson knew all too well.
“My first two years here it was basically an 80-20 split, and the 80 was for their side,” Johnson said prior to Monday’s game. “I’m hoping the 80-20 split is going to be on our side.”
It might not have been that much of an advantage, but it was a pro-Brooklyn crowd.
The NBA postponed the originally scheduled Nov. 1 game — the season-opener for both teams — because of the impact of superstorm Sandy on New York and the region. The make-up was a game that had meaning. Both teams are decent, if not good. It was the beginning of borough bragging rights for decades to come.
The Knicks and Nets, along with the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, will compete for the Atlantic Division title all season and jockey for playoff seeding position, too.
“Again, you can’t lose the division (Monday). You can’t win it,” Johnson said
But clearly, the game was important for both teams, the beginning of historic borough battle. Nets part-owner Jay-Z, and his wife Beyonce, sat in their courtside seats next to the Nets bench, and NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver were also in attendance for the first game between New York and Brooklyn pro sports franchises since 1957 when the Brooklyn Dodgers played the New York Giants.
“Just as important as it is to us being here in Brooklyn, playing for these moments, to play in the Barclays Center, it’s … [For more on Nets top Knicks in thrilling overtime battle for New York, click here.]