In the game that was rescheduled due to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Brooklyn Nets were able to outlast the New York Knicks 96-89 in overtime in the initial match up of the two teams at Barclays Center since the Nets franchise moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey. A sold out crowd of 17,732 that included Nets majority owner Jay-Z, recording artist Beyonce, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and New York Giants Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul watched the playoff-intensity match up that saw neither team lead by more than seven. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks, while Deron Williams notched a double-double himself with 16 points and a season-high 14 assists. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 35 points and 13 rebounds, while Tyson Chandler scored a career-high 28 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
The fans of the Brooklyn Nets get an assist for this win, and many of the Nets acknowledged this, including head coach Avery Johnson. “Every time some sort of Knicks contingency started to cheer, our fans got louder and this is what we have been dreaming about since I have been here. It is a nice feeling and I am glad we rewarded our fans with a victory. They deserved it.”
Power forward Reggie Evans, who played last season with the Los Angeles Clippers, is used to playing in a city with two teams. “It kind of reminded me of when I was in Los Angeles. Playing at home and the Lakers were the road team, and you here many Lakers fans out there.” The arena was probably 60/40 in favor of the Nets, and the loudest cheers of the night, by far, were the elongated “Brooklyn” chants by the Nets faithful.
Williams spoke about the match up from several perspectives. ““Every time we play these guys it feels like that. They’re right across the bridge and it felt like we have anticipated this for about ten years now. Hopefully this will be a great rivalry for years to come. The fans are amazing, they have been great for us all year. They will continue to be great for us and we love them.”
Chandler was very complimentary of the Nets and the crowd. “It was a great atmosphere. Both teams wanted it. Both teams had something up for stake, It was a good game. My hat goes out to them. We didn’t pull this one out and it was a disappointing loss.” Anthony had a surprising answer when asked how it felt to hear the Brooklyn chants. “It felt good. As a Brooklyn guy, it felt good to hear that.”
This game was more important for the Nets, who must establish themselves in New York City. They have won the first Battle of the Boroughs at Barclays Center over the crosstown rival Knicks. Part two takes place on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, a mere 15 days away. I am sure the Knicks, Nets, and their fans alike will have that one marked on the city. The real winner though, after all, is the city of New York and their basketball fans.