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Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Status of season opener is in NBA's hands

By Ian Begley and Mike Mazzeo

The Knicks-Nets season opener at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn could be postponed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank told reporters from the New York Times and USA Today that the league's season-opening games scheduled for Tuesday would be played, but the NBA is "still assessing the situation with regards to the rest of the week."

The Knicks and Nets are scheduled to open the season Thursday, in the inaugural regular-season game at the Barclays Center.

The arena didn't sustain any damage from Hurricane Sandy, a Nets spokesman confirmed Tuesday, but the storm forced the shutdown of public transportation throughout the tri-state area. This is problematic because fans traveling to the Barclays Center are expected to rely heavily on public transportation. The arena is in close proximity to major subway and Long Island Rail Road stations.

If fans choose instead to drive to the game, it could cause major traffic headaches in the area surrounding the arena, which is ill-suited for heavy traffic.

Spokesmen from both the Knicks and the Nets said that the decision to play or postpone the game would be made by the league.

"Right now, our biggest priority in Brooklyn is helping with the recovery from this terrible storm," Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz said Tuesday in a statement. "I am confident that the NBA, in conjunction with the MTA, the NYPD and all of the necessary city agencies, will make a decision that represents the best interests not only of sports fans but of all of our citizens in New York City."

Markowitz also got in a dig at the rival Knicks.

"If the game is played Thursday, I certainly encourage fans to carpool and to take city buses -- which will begin running with limited service at 5 p.m. today," he said. "I expect that adequate numbers of traffic agents will be employed to move traffic swiftly, as has been the experience with the previous events at the Barclays Center. So bring on the Manhattan Knicks because Brooklyn is in the house."

The Knicks practiced on Tuesday. The Nets will practice Wednesday at the Barclays Center because their practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., is without power, a team spokesman confirmed.