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Nets Edge Out Knicks in Rivalry Starter

Reggie Evans had a big night on the boards, as the Nets took bragging rights in their first game against the Knicks this season.

It’s been a long time since a game between the Knicks and Nets meant something but Monday’s clash in Brooklyn might just have changed that.

A fire was stoked under the two sides as they met for the first of four games this season. It was the Knicks’ first visit to the Barclays Center, the lavish new home of the revamped Brooklyn Nets.

Originally scheduled for November 1, the destruction and upheaval caused by Hurricane Sandy saw the game postponed until this past Monday night. In the meantime, the Knicks made major waves, compiling an 8-1 record and looking like a genuine title threat. The Nets weren’t far behind either.

The Knicks stumbled slightly heading into the game, losing back-to-back games in Houston and Dallas to move to 8-3 before beating the hapless Detroit Pistons in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

The Nets meanwhile fended off a pair of losses out on the West Coast – which had broken a five-game winning streak – with wins over the Clippers and Portland, both in Brooklyn.

The two teams took to the court in front of a sellout crowd of 17,732, each one eager for a new rivalry to be born. The fans wouldn’t be disappointed.

A seesaw battle saw both teams stick close to each other. Brooklyn took a 26-23 lead in the first quarter before the Knicks edged a two-point lead going into overtime. The Nets then took over again, coming out of the third quarter with a 68-67 lead, before New York tied it up in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime.

The Nets took the overtime period, outscoring their cross-city rivals by seven in the final stanza, to come out 96-89 winners.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 22 points and 11 boards, while Deron Williams scored 16 and dished out 14 assists. Gerard Wallace had 16 points, whilst bench players Reggie Evans (14 rebounds) and Jerry Stackhouse (14 points) came up big.

As he has done for much of the season, Carmelo Anthony took the charge for New York, leading all scorers with 34 points. He also crashed the boards for 13 rebounds. Tyson Chandler had 28 points on 12 of 13 shooting to go alongside 10 rebounds. Starting point guard Raymond Felton had a poor-shooting night, only making three of 19 shots for eight points.

The Knicks were without starting guard, and former New Jersey Net, Jason Kidd, who missed the game after suffering from back spasms.

Brooklyn’s victory saw both teams move to 9-4 on the season, with only Miami (10-3) ranking higher in the Eastern Conference.

In terms of the NBA Futures, the Knicks are currently 18/1 to win the NBA Championship, an improvement on preseason odds of 40/1. The Nets are 33/1, level with preseason predictions. The Knicks are 7/1 to take the Eastern Conference (again, behind only Miami) while Brooklyn is 12/1 (tied fourth).

Meanwhile in D.C.

Washington was crushed by the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, with the final score reading 118-92. The Wizards are now 0-12, a record that is not only worst in the league but also a franchise worse. The worst start to a season came in 2009, when the Nets started 0-18, a record that the Wizards look odds on to shatter this season.

Washington’s next chance of winning a first game of the season comes on Wednesday as Portland (6-8, 2-5 road) arrives in the Capital. The Blazers have lost two straight, including a 108-101 loss to Detroit on Monday night, and three of the last four.

The Wizards currently sit at 1000/1 to win the NBA championship. The question that should be asked is how is the side still even on the board?

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