Nets win opening game in Brooklyn
Exactly 20,150 days passed since the last regular-season game in a major professional sport in the borough of Kings.
It was worth the wait.
The Nets began their newest era by beating the Raptors 107-100 Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
Brook Lopez led five Nets in double figures with 27 points. Deron Williams finished with 19 points and nine assists. Reserve point guard C.J. Watson and starting off-guard Joe Johnson had 15 and 14, respectively. Gerald Wallace added 10 points.
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry led all scorers with 28 points. DeMar DeRozan had 25, and Andrea Bargnani chipped in with 13.
The Nets took control of the game during the second quarter. They outscored Toronto, 33-17, in the quarter and led 60-52 at the half. The advantage was gained due the second unit, which in a six-minute span of the second quarter took the Nets from down eight to a 42-42 tie.
The Nets expanded their lead to as much as 13, following two Lopez free throws in the third quarter. But they were unable to put away the Raptors, who took an 84-83 lead after Ed Davis’s layup with 8:46 left in the fourth quarter.
Johnson, Lopez and Marshon Brooks made sure the deficit wouldn’t last. The trio scored 10 points in three minutes to put the Nets up 94-89. Toronto got as close as three, 103-100, after Alan Anderson’s 3-pointer with 20.7 seconds left but Williams’ four free throws gave the Nets the final margin of victory.
NBA commissioner David Stern and Williams welcomed the 17,732 in attendance to the Nets’ Brooklyn age with speeches prior to tip-off. Throughout the franchise’s history, the Nets have been vagabonds, playing in seven arenas (Teaneck Armory, Long Island Arena, Island Garden, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Rutgers Athletic Center, Izod Center and the Prudential Center) while in both the ABA and NBA. The Nets won two ABA titles and twice reached the NBA Finals.
Also, as part of the pre-game ceremony, the organization also introduced BrooklyKnight, a superhero Marvel Comics created for the franchise.
Among the dignitaries in Barclays for the first game in Brooklyn since the Brooklyn Dodgers’ 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ebbets Field on Sept. 24, 1957 were Stern, Nets Principle Owner Mikhail Prokhorov, minority owner Jay-Z and wife Beyonce and Nets CEO Brett Yormark.
Follow Nets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.