Saturday, November 3, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Nets 107, Raptors 100
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: More than 55 years after the Dodgers played their final game in Brooklyn, the Nets opened their regular season in the borough with a 107-100 win over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night at the $1 billion Barclays Center.
The Nets were supposed to tip off the 2012-13 campaign against the New York Knicks on Thursday, but Hurricane Sandy had other ideas. Despite a lack of mass transit due to the superstorm, a sellout crowd of 17,732 came out to cheer on the Nets on Saturday.
BROOKLYN'S BACKCOURT: Deron Williams, the $98 million man, had a solid game, scoring 19 points while dishing out nine assists in 39 minutes. Nineteen seconds in, Williams drained a 14-foot jumper from the left wing for the first points in Brooklyn Nets history. D-Will's backcourt mate, Joe Johnson, also fared pretty well. In his Nets debut, Johnson finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 40 minutes.
Defensively, however, both need to pick it up. Toronto's starting guards, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, combined to score 53 points.
BROOK-LYN: Brook Lopez attacked in the post early and often, getting to the free throw line 15 times (making 11, including his last 10 in a row) en route to a team-high 27 points -- three of which came on a crucial three-point play with 59.4 seconds remaining that made it 100-95 and prompted "Brooooklynnnn" chants from the crowd.
In typical Lopez fashion, he grabbed just five rebounds.
QUIETSTORM: If Saturday night's game was any indication, C.J. Watson is primed for a breakout year. The 28-year-old backup point guard, known to many as "Quietstorm," scored 10 of his 15 points in the second quarter to spark the sluggish squad. He finished 6-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. With the Nets up 94-92 late in the fourth quarter, Watson's drive and running layup with two minutes left allowed them to stay ahead.
MAR-SHON: Embattled reserve guard MarShon Brooks made sure the Nets wouldn't blow a 14-point lead, hitting a pair of clutch shots in the fourth quarter. The second-year pro had eight points in 18 minutes off the bench.
CRASH LANDING: Gerald Wallace appeared to hurt his left ankle when he tried to block a Lowry shot with 27.7 seconds remaining in the game. Wallace left the game shortly thereafter, limping off under his own power. He was undergoing X-rays.
BAD START: The Nets, who want to finish in the top third in the league defensively, allowed the Raptors to score 35 points in the first quarter on 62.5 percent shooting. Brooklyn trailed by as many as 10 in the opening period but outscored Toronto 33-17 in the second to take an eight-point lead to the break.
IN THE CROWD: Jay-Z and Beyonce (next to the Nets' bench), owner Mikhail Prokhorov (in his suite above Section 108), NBA commissioner David Stern, Brooklyn Dodgers Ralph Branca and Joe Pignataro.
UNVEILINGS: The Nets finally sported their home white uniforms after wearing their black roadies all preseason. Also, "BrooklyKnight," the team's new mascot, made his debut.
UP NEXT: Nets vs. Timberwolves, 7:30 p.m. Monday.