Thursday, April 24, 2014
KG: 'Eager to see' how Brooklyn fans act
By Mike Mazzeo
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets center Kevin Garnett is eager to find out what the atmosphere will be like inside Barclays Center on Friday night.
“I’m very eager to see how [the fans] respond to ‘F-Brooklyn,’” said Garnett, who will make his home playoff debut with the Nets in Game 3 against the Toronto Raptors.
“I’m very eager to see how they respond to [Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri] sitting in our arena. ... We’ll see.”
The Nets compiled the third-best home record in the NBA after Jan. 1, going 22-4. During that stretch, they won a franchise-record 15 straight games at their Brooklyn arena.
“I’ve never had a series in Brooklyn before,” Garnett said “I never said ‘F-Brooklyn’ before, so we’re about to see what it’s like.”
The Nets announced Thursday that they will be providing all fans in attendance with rally towels for Game 3 and with rally towels and playoff branded shooting sleeves for Game 4. Brooklyn actor Michael K. Williams, from "The Wire" and “Boardwalk Empire,” will introduce the Nets’ starting lineup.
“I expect it to be a nice, ruckus, rowdy crowd, that’s what a lot of playoff crowds are about, they’re hungry for it,” said Paul Pierce, who, like Garnett, will be playing in his first playoff game at Barclays Center as a Net.
“They’ve been watching playoffs for about a week now, and now they get a chance to come into our home building and enjoy it and really try to give us a lift.”
Ujiri kicked off the series with his bang, when he yelled “F--- Brooklyn!” at a fan rally outside Air Canada Center prior to Game 1.
Ujiri has since apologized for his choice of words, though his distain for the Nets is well-known.
That distain appears to stem from when speculation swirled that the Nets tanked -- losing four of their last five regular-season games to set up a playoff matchup with the Atlantic Division-champion Raptors.
“I don’t know if you can say ‘F Brooklyn’ and then come into Brooklyn,” Garnett said Tuesday. “So we’re about to see what it’s like.”
For what it’s worth, the Raptors have lost 12 straight playoff games on the road -- the fifth-longest streak in NBA history. Toronto’s last road win? May 6, 2001 in Philadelphia.
“We feel we’ve got the best fans and we’ve been playing well at home, so we want to continue to do that,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said.