Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
Thanks to an 8-0 run in overtime, the Nets outlasted their New York City co-tenants, 96-89, in front of a sold out crowd of 17,732 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Brook Lopez scored 22 points and hauled in 11 rebounds, Deron Williams registered his sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 assists, and Gerald Wallace had his best offensive game of the season with 16 points and five rebounds, while shooting 6-for-13 from the floor.
For the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony finished with 35 points and 13 rebounds, while Tyson Chandler added a career-high 28 points on an impressive 12-for-13 from the field, as well as 10 rebounds.
“We really turned up our defense in overtime and we scored the ball,” Nets head coach Avery Johnson said. “We had a high rating on defense in overtime and at there at the end of the fourth quarter and pulled the game out. “
The key sequence
The Knicks overcame a five-point deficit with 4:01 to play in regulation to force overtime, then took an 86-84 lead thanks to a Chandler dunk off a Raymond Felton feed on the first possession of overtime before the Nets took the lead for good.
A driving layup from Lopez, the fourth and final 3-pointer from Jerry Stackhouse and a layup from Wallace after a tough drive highlighted an 8-0 run over a span of 1:57 gave the Nets a 92-86 lead with 2:22 to go in the overtime and they never looked back.
“We really kept our composure, it was a good test for us, our team stuck together,” Lopez said. “We didn’t play a perfect game, we had a few mistakes down the stretch, but we stuck with it.”
With the game tied at 84 with 24.1 seconds remaining, each team had a chance late to end it, but neither could.
Out of a timeout, the Knicks isolated Anthony on the left wing, but his pull-up jumper was off the mark before Williams hauled in the rebound.
After the Nets called timeout with 3.6 seconds remaining, Williams took the inbounds pass and wound up with a pretty clean look from about 35 feet out, but his shot clanged off the right side of the rim and the game was sent to overtime.
What he came back for
When Williams re-upped with the Nets for five years and $98.7 million in July, Monday night was the type of atmosphere he envisioned playing in. In his first shot on the big stage this season against the Knicks, Williams answered the bell.
“It’s hard to deny the atmosphere and the media buzz around this game,” Williams said. “It was an exciting game for us, we were up and ready for the task and I’m glad we could come out with a victory.”
Williams continued, “This is what they talked about, this is what they visualized, games like this. This was a playoff-type atmosphere, you could definitely feel it on the court.”
The key offensive play from Williams, one that may get swept under the rug, came midway through the third quarter when he hit a key 3-pointer from the left wing after the ball got swung around and Raymond Felton lost him on defense.
The 3-pointer made the score 73-72 with 6:27 to play and stopped a little bit of bleeding after the Knicks had scored five straight points to take a 72-70 lead.
Stackhouse for 3
No one, including Avery Johnson, had Jerry Stackhouse pegged for regular rotation minutes, let alone crunch time minutes when this season began. However, that’s precisely the position 18th-year reserve shooting guard found himself in on Monday.
Against the Knicks, Stackhouse scored a season-high 14 points, shot 4-for-5 from 3-point range and played a season-high 22 minutes. His 3-pointer 1:29 into overtime broke an 86-all tie and put the Nets in front to stay.
“I’m here to compete,” Stackhouse said. “Avery is gonna do a good job managing my minutes, probably more so than I want him to, but that’s just part of it. It’s more about us growing and getting somewhere down the road, and not so much right now”
Viewed as something of a mentor or player-coach in the preseason, Stackhouse has seen action in eight games this season and has played at least 10 minutes in seven of the eight. He was coming off a DNP-CD on Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“What more can I say, big threes, every three was at the right time,” Johnson said. “He was in a good rhythm in his spots, he had really good energy and that was the idea behind resting him yesterday. I didn’t think he was gonna be this ready though.”
‘Crash’ cashes in
Normally a defensive-minded small forward charged with guarding the opposition’s best scorer, Wallace showed on Monday he can do more than play defense.
His 13 points were a season-high, as were his 13 shot attempts.
With his previous season-high being nine in the season-opener against the Toronto Raptors back on Nov. 3, a slashing Wallace took a pass from Williams and dunked it to give him 11 late in the second quarter.
The 12th-year pro out of the University of Alabama had nine points and shot 3-for-6 from the field in the first quarter alone.
As for his defense, Anthony went for 35 points, but he earned every last one. For the night, he shot 11-for-25, mainly against single coverage, but there were times that Johnson tried to crowd him or send double teams.
“I think we played great team defense,” Wallace said. “We tried to control their pick-and-roll and we tried to make ‘Melo take poor shots. I think our team defense, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime, was great.”
With the Nets now tied for first in the Atlantic Division at 9-4, this is the first time they are in first at 13 games or later into a season since Jan. 30, 2007 when they were 22-23 and tied for first with the Toronto Raptors….This is the first time the Nets and Knicks are tied for first this late in a season since Nov. 30, 1997 when both teams were 10-5….The Nets have won six straight games at Barclays Center and are 7-1 at home for the first time since 2002-03 when they started 18-1 at Continental Airlines Arena….The Nets have now held nine of their 13 opponents to under 100 points and are 8-1 in such games.
“This is what we’ve been dreaming about since I’ve been here. It’s a nice feeling and I’m glad we rewarded our fans with a victory, they deserved it.”–Avery Johnson.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA.