At the Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks emerged winners in the Battle of the Boroughs as they marched on against their cross-over neighbors, the Brooklyn Nets, by 107-86.
Ntilikina gets his moment
It was a remarkable night for the home side as besides recording their first victory in this championship, the fans also got to admire rookie Frank Ntilikina's home debut.
The French point guard was sidelined in the last two games due to a sprained ankle and he was given the nod throughout the game, changing the entire course of a match which at first was totally dominated by the Nets.
Prior the match, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek had explained how the French player had to adjust himself to the game and that he would be useful in the defense.
In fact, Ntilikina did not disappoint as he put up a solid defensive display and was crucial with some intelligent passes, underlining his Basketball IQ - he can be a serious Rookie of the Year contender.
Another crucial input to the team was the introduction of point guard Jarrett Jack as his leadership on the court proved decisive in assembling an organized team throughout the four quarters.
New stakeholder for the Nets
On the day where the Nets made the headlines since one of the Alibaba Group's co-founders, Joseph C. Tsai, has come to an agreement in principle to acquire a 49 percent stake in the club, the team failed to work their magic which saw them excel in their latest outings.
From a Nets perspective, this defeat can be seen as a humbling loss but more than that, it was also a reality check that despite their recent wins, the team is still under construction and need to process these kind of nights in order to become more mature in this league.
Russell returns from injury
On a brighter note, the Nets welcomed back their star player D'Angelo Russell after the former Los Angeles Lakers guard was unavailable in their last outing due to an injury.
Porzingis leader more than ever
Kristaps Porzigins is why the New York Knicks still attracts people to watch their games.
His moments of brilliance make him a top player in this league and tonight was no exception as he carried the team with 30 points and nine rebounds, one rebound shy from a double-double.
In addition, Courtney Lee and Enes Kanter upped their ante with 13 and 12 points respectively, helping the Knicks to take control of the game after the Nets went out 8-0 early in the game.
Also, Ntilikina dropped nine points and registered five assists as the No. 8 pick showed no signs of anxiety despite stepping at the MSG for his maiden game.
In 21 minutes, the No. 8 pick in the draft scored nine points and matched Jack with a team-high five assists. Ntilikina played just 7:32 in the Knicks’ opening-night loss to the Thunder and was scoreless with one assist and one turnover.
After the interval, the Knicks moved to a 25-6 run which all but secured the victory for them despite the Nets tried to force a late rally.
The Nets were slow in their ball management and unlike the Knicks, they were not quick neither in their passing game nor in the rebounds, paving the way for the Knicks to catch them red-handed most of the time while adding more points.
Russell concluded his first match since returning from his light injury with 15 points while Quincy Acy followed him with 12 points.
Also, Spencer Dindwiddie who replaced Russell against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last match put up another efficient performance with 11 assists and despite tonight's loss, the Nets have found another guard on whom they can rely throughout the season trek.
What's next for both sides?
Porzingis and co. cross swords with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-3) on Sunday and they will be striving to shock the defending Eastern Conference champions in order to shift entirely the bearings of their season.
Meanwhile, The Nets will return in action on Sunday when they host the Denver Nuggets (2-5) at the Barclays Center.