In the first regular-season matchup between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, it was the Nets who emerged victorious in overtime to come away with the big divisional win.
Despite Carmelo Anthony's 35 points and 13 rebounds at the Barclays Center, the home team bested the visiting Knicks, 96-89. Brooklyn's own star, Deron Williams posted 16 points and 14 assists in willing his team to the finish.
The Nets improve to 9-4 and are an impressive 7-1 in Brooklyn. The Knicks fall into a first-place tie with the Nets in the Atlantic Division at 9-4, as well.
Let's hit the classroom to find out how both teams graded out in Monday night's matchup.
Raymond Felton, PG NYK: D
One of the major things to watch for as the New York Knicks proceed through the 2012-13 season will be how Raymond Felton plays against upper-echelon teams. For the Knicks to get where they want to be, Felton must produce against the type of competition they will see in the postseason.
Squaring off against one of the league's top point guards in Deron Williams, Felton failed to impress in Brooklyn.
The Knicks appeared to fall out of rhythm in overtime, much to the fault of Felton. After a great assist on a Tyson Chandler bucket, he was unable to get the ball to his scorers in good situations. He finished with just five helpers, and his offense was held to just five points in the extra frame.
On top of his inability to help the Knicks close, his final line of 3-of-19 from the field was just putrid.
Deron Williams, PG BKN: A
Deron Williams needs to be the biggest advantage on the floor when the Brooklyn Nets play teams like the New York Knicks. That means the difference between him and his counterpart must be the widest in the game.
That was emphatically true here against New York. While he had an off-night shooting (6-of-17), Williams controlled the game in other ways, tallying 14 assists to go with his 16 points. He also grabbed six rebounds and grabbed three steals.
He displayed a great killer instinct toward the end of regulation, taking the ball to the hoop on a few occasions. Even when unsuccessful, that sets a precedent for his teammates. It says, "This is the time we step up"—something the rest of the Nets need to learn.
Ronnie Brewer, SG NYK: C+
It truly was a tale of two halves for Ronnie Brewer. Not two halves of the game, but offensive and defensive halves.
Brewer struggled to get anything going on the offensive end, finishing 1-of-6 for just three points.
However, no one heard Joe Johnson's name with any regularity. That is a credit to Brewer and the defensive performance he put in on a skilled scorer like Johnson.
Brewer appeared to injure his hand on a defensive play in the final minutes of action and was walked back to the locker room shortly after.
Joe Johnson, SG BKN: D+
Joe Johnson came into the contest on a little run, averaging 20 points per game in the last two Brooklyn Nets wins.
That came to an abrupt end when he ran into Ronnie Brewer and the New York Knicks defense. Johnson needs to play better in important games and not just disappear for long stretches.
He finished with just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. This appeared to just be another in the long line of disappointing Johnson performances in big games.
Carmelo Anthony, SF NYK: A-
Gerald Wallace and the Nets were able to keep Carmelo Anthony in check early on, but eventually he was able to break through. He finished the first half with 15 points after the Knicks' perimeter shooters started drawing players away from the paint.
He scored eight of the first 10 points of the second half for the Knicks, helping New York build a small lead. However, that did not last.
Despite his 35 points and 13 rebounds, there was some cause for concern. In the later portion of the fourth quarter, Anthony was pressing a little bit too much and displayed some errors in judgment. It was clear that the physical defense of Wallace and Keith Bogans was really getting to him at points.
Also, with no Jason Kidd, one would really like to see Anthony with more than one assist. On top of an inability to get his teammates involved, Anthony missed five free throws in regulation (10-of-16 overall), any one of which may have won the game in the end.
Gerald Wallace, SF BKN: B+
Gerald Wallace was just as disruptive defensively as he needed to be. He was not able to slow Carmelo Anthony completely, but what he did do was stop Anthony in certain situations and force him into bad shots late in the shot clock.
That style of defense is exactly what is called for in matchups with top-tier offensive talent.
On the offensive side of things, Wallace was a part of quite a few momentum-altering plays. He contributed 16 points, including two big threes and an immense dunk.
Kurt Thomas, PF NYK: C-
As a fill-in starter due to injuries, there wasn't a whole lot going on for Kurt Thomas. He saw just eight minutes of action, as Mike Woodson opted to give Rasheed Wallace big minutes.
Thomas did hit his only shot and grabbed a couple of rebounds.
Kris Humphries, PF BKN: C
After an empty first half, Kris Humphries showed us a little bit of why he is part of the Brooklyn Nets' starting unit.
In just 19 minutes, he did make an impact. Humphries came up with some big rebounds and was able to display a few competent inside moves.
He finished with just four points and five rebounds but only took three shots and held his own defensively. Rasheed Wallace is a fairly easy assignment, but Humphries was successful nonetheless.
Tyson Chandler, C NYK: A
The field-goal percentages Tyson Chandler is posting thus far this season are just silly. That continued Monday night as he went 12-of-13 for 28 points.
The Knicks center was responsible for keeping New York in the game when Carmelo Anthony went silent. He worked the pick-and-roll successfully with Raymond Felton a few times and was incredibly active on the boards. Most of his seven offensive rebounds led to quick putbacks.
Chandler was his usual disruptive self defensively, not allowing Brook Lopez to get into a rhythm offensively for much of the game.
Brook Lopez, C BKN: B+
The statistics may always be there for Brook Lopez, but in games like Monday night's contest, his impact can come and go in waves.
Lopez scored 22 points, but the consistency wasn't there. He needed 20 shots to get there, and his streakiness was evident throughout. He had a hot opening to the game, then went through a good streak in the fourth quarter and overtime. But in between he was shaky.
He made an error in dropping his shoulder while backing down inside two minutes, surrendering a charge when Tyson Chandler hit the deck. With a chance to redeem himself and give his team a lead with 24 seconds to go, Lopez missed one of two free throws, leaving the game tied at 84 where it stayed till overtime.
The 11 rebounds, including seven offensive, were a pleasant sight. As were the five blocks he tallied in the game.
His work in the pick-and-roll with Deron Williams netted multiple easy baskets, including a big one in OT.
J.R. Smith, SG NYK: D
A lot of minutes were granted to J.R. Smith in Brooklyn, but not much production was seen from it. He scored all of his five points in the early going, and the seven rebounds were quite fluky.
In overtime, with Ronnie Brewer injured, Smith was on the court for the duration. Not that one would have noticed, as Smith was nonexistent.
Smith played 41 minutes in the game and was just 2-of-7 from the field—incredibly disappointing for Smith, who faced average defenders in Keith Bogans and Jerry Stackhouse.
Keith Bogans, SG BKN: C
There wasn't a whole lot going on overall for Keith Bogans, either, Monday night. He was able to perform fairly well in the clutch, though. A basket at the end of the third quarter gave the Brooklyn Nets their first lead in some time, 68-67.
He was also responsible for guarding Carmelo Anthony at a few points in the second half, giving Gerald Wallace a breather.
Bogans tallied six points but needed eight shots to get them.
New York Knicks Bench: D
For Rasheed Wallace, it is going to be a race all season to see if his offense—essentially, his three-point shooting—can outweigh his defensive liability on-court.
On Monday night, he just wasn't worth the minutes. Wallace was rarely noticed on the defensive end, as Brook Lopez got some easy buckets and Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace penetrated with ease. Wallace hit just 2-of-11 shots, both threes, and grabbed eight rebounds.
Elsewhere, Steve Novak had a quiet night with just two points, and no other Knicks reserve saw much playing time.
With Jason Kidd out, this unit was shortened and it showed.
Brooklyn Nets Bench: B+
All night the TNT studio was discussing the merits of each team's bench and which they would prefer to have.
Though the analysts were fairly split, one player stood out as a no-doubt pick. That was Reggie Evans. Evans was dominant on the glass in the first half, grabbing eight boards (four offensive) in just eight minutes. He finished strong as well, grabbing some clutch boards away from multiple Knicks hands. He finished with a game-high 14 rebounds.
When it looked like the Knicks could start pulling away late in the third quarter, it was the Nets bench that brought them back into the game. Straight baskets by Evans, Andray Blatche and a Jerry Stackhouse three switched the momentum before the final frame.
Stackhouse made a home for himself in the corners and drilled 4-of-5 three-pointers. He led all bench players with 12 points. C.J. Watson contributed four points, as well.