NEW YORK (AP) – The Knicks had the momentum on the court and their fans cheering wildly in the stands. The Nets, though, have Kyrie Irving.
He’s the main reason that for now, all roads – and bridges and tunnels – point to Brooklyn’s way in New York’s basketball rivalry.
Irving scored 26 points and made a go-ahead three-pointer with 22 seconds left after the Knicks had taken a late lead, and the Nets held on for a 113-109 victory on Friday night in the first meeting this season between New York’s teams.
“Having a player like that, where you know that he can make plays down the stretch, it gives the team a lot of confidence,” Nets forward Joe Harris said. The Nets controlled much of the game and then responded just in time after the Knicks had surged ahead with a big performance in the fourth quarter.
Irving, who scored 50 points in an overtime loss in his Brooklyn debut, scored five straight points down the stretch after New York took a three-point lead. Spencer Dinwiddie added 20 points.
Allonzo Trier scored 22 points for the Knicks, who fell to 0-2. Rookie RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox II each added 16.
Nets fans hoping to see the first victory for their new-look team had to wait through an anxious fourth quarter, when the blue-shirted fans in the building started making plenty of noise after the Knicks came back from 19 points down.
Wayne Ellington’s three-pointer capped a run of 10 straight points that tied it at 104. Irving made a lay-up, but then Ellington hit another three-pointer and Barrett stole Irving’s pass and made a layup, making it a 15-2 run and giving New York a 109-106 lead with 3:41 to play.
Irving then hit a jumper and a step-back three-pointer from the right wing that was reminiscent of his game-winning three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers.