The Nets won their sixth straight game in their new $1 billion arena in Brooklyn, New York, a 96-89 overtime victory over the rival New York Knicks in a game that players and coaches said had a playoff atmosphere.
The teams had waited almost a month for their first meeting in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, as the game was originally scheduled to be their National Basketball Association season-opener on Nov. 1 before being pushed back in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
“It was a lot of fun,” Nets point guard Deron Williams, who had 16 points and 14 assists, said in a televised interview. “The crowd was amazing. We had a lot of energy for this game, we were ready and we gave the fans a show.”
Brooklyn outscored New York 12-5 in the five-minute overtime period to improve its record to 9-4, tying the Knicks for first place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.
The Nets’ second win over the Knicks in their past eight meetings drew echoing chants of “Brook-lyn” from many of those who remained from the crowd of 17,732.
“Every time we play these guys it’s going to feel like that,” Williams said. “They’re right across the bridge and this has been anticipated for like 10 years now. Hopefully it’s a great rivalry for years to come.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck were among those who sat courtside at the Barclays Center, where tickets for the game were re-sold on the secondary market for an average of almost $400.
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
Music mogul and Brooklyn native Jay-Z, an investor in the Nets, was also on hand with his wife -- singer Beyonce Knowles - - as the Nets improved to 7-1 in their new arena after recording a 9-24 home record last season in their final campaign in New Jersey.
Brook Lopez had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, while Gerald Wallace scored 16 points and Jerry Stackhouse added 14 off the bench and hit 4-of-5 three-point attempts.
Carmelo Anthony, who grew up in Brooklyn, scored 35 points to lead the Knicks, though he was scoreless over the final seven minutes. Raymond Felton missed 16 of his 19 shot attempts for New York, which has lost three of its past four games and fell to 4-4 on the road.
“Fatigue set in,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters. “Our starting unit went a lot of minutes. They had a little more energy than we did at the end. They made the plays and we didn’t.”
Tyson Chandler finished with 28 points for the Knicks and made 12-of-13 shots while his teammates combined to shoot 21-of-72 from the field. The Nets, who have allowed a league-low 91.3 points a game this season, are now 8-1 when giving up fewer than 100 points.
“Their defense held tight,” Woodson said. “It was a back and forth fight and they were able to pull it out.”
The Nets and Knicks will play three more times this season, with their next meeting on Dec. 11 in Brooklyn. The Knicks will host the Nets at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 19 and Jan. 21.
“I guess they wanted it just a little bit more than we did,” Knicks forward Rasheed Wallace told reporters after missing nine of his 11 shots. “It was a good game for the fans.”