The Brooklyn Nets have finally opened up their new arena for regular season play. They came away with a W against the Toronto Raptors last night, winning by a final score of 107-100.
The bulk of the scoring came from Brook Lopez who had 27 points in only 31 minutes. Deron Williams also played well finishing with 19 points and 9 assists. CJ Watson made a strong contribution off the bench, scoring 15 and shooting 75% from beyond the arc. Reggie Evans snagged 13 rebounds in only 15 minutes of play, a role which we will most likely see expand.
For the Raptors, the only real exclamation points were Demar Derozan who ended with 25 points and Kyle Lowry, who was close to finishing with a triple-double: he had 28 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds.
The Nets are obviously still a work in progress, but if you watched the game last night you noticed the dramatic improvement made even to this point so far. They looked much better defensively than last year, but there is still a lot of work to be done in that regard, specifically from Brook Lopez. He definitely improved from two seasons ago, but getting him to become the player he can reach will take some time and surely Avery Johnson can help him in that department. Deron Williams finally looked like he cared while wearing a Nets uniform which was a very nice change of pace. Joe Johnson looked a bit nervous in this game, which is something that will hopefully pass. For now, the team can live with his 14 point contribution but he will definitely have to start scoring efficiantly.
As a fan who went to the game last night I must say that the atmosphere was phenomenal. Unfortunately not every seat was filled, due in large to Hurricane Sandy's destruction, but the fans came out and I've never seen this many Nets fans in one place since the names Kidd, Jefferson and Carter were on the backs of Net jerseys. The chant of "Broooooook-lyn" will also surely become a staple to the team and follow them forever.
The team also revealed their new mascot, the "BrooklyKnight", which is literally a knight with a Brooklyn Nets logo on it. Fans received free Marvel comics featuring the Brooklyknight, as he was designed and created by Marvel comics. Surely younger fans will like him, and he has just the right amount of "cool" to him in order for older ones to enjoy him as well.
All in all, opening night was a huge success. Brooklyn was dressed in black, and everything went smoothly. The Nets next game will be Monday at 7:30 as they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in Brooklyn. You can watch the game on the YES Network.
Also, from now on Nets coverage will be done every week, not every game, due to the large schedule of games. Thank you for reading, and I hope that you and yours are safe and warm following the Hurricane.