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Friday, December 7, 2012
Mark Jackson takes trip down memory lane

By Mike Mazzeo

Mark Jackson spent the first 7 1/2 years of his life growing up in East New York, Brooklyn.

And before becoming a highly successful point guard and coach in the NBA, he played at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School -- just blocks away from where the Barclays Center stands now.

“Driving by, I saw the Nets shop with Brooklyn stuff all over it. It’s a sense of pride. And it’s easier for a kid in this area to dream,” Jackson said before his Warriors took on the Nets on Friday night.

“I had to reach all the way to 34th Street and Earl Monroe. I probably would’ve still reached that far because I love him as a person and a basketball player. But it makes it easier for a kid to visualize himself playing here one day. It’s a great story for the Nets fans, but New York fans as well. The Knicks should feel good about this.

“... I can envision a kid walking with his dad (and having a conversation), ‘It can happen. You could play here one day. You could coach here one day.’ It makes a heck of a statement.”

Jackson’s first impression upon seeing the $1 billion arena?

“Wow. You couldn’t imagine this being here as a kid growing up. You just couldn’t imagine it,” Jackson said. “It’s a big deal, and rightfully so.”

As for his homecoming?

“It’s great to be back. It really hit me as we were a couple blocks away,” Jackson said. “There was a McDonald’s that we used to go to after every home game in high school, and we drove past it. It brought back some great memories.”

Jackson said he has about 10 friends and family members in attendance, but “we want to leave here with a win.”

" Brook Lopez, who will be missing his fourth straight game due to a mild right foot sprain, got up some shots and did a little light running on Friday, according to Nets coach Avery Johnson.

“We’ll treat him again tonight,” Johnson said. “He’ll probably get a workout in the weight room, and then we’ll see how he recovers. We’re gonna have a practice tomorrow, so we’ll figure out what part of practice he can participate in and then we’ll go from there and evaluate him on Sunday.”

• Avery Johnson reiterated that Joe Johnson (40.6 percent) hasn’t been making a high percentage of his wide-open shots this season, but believes that he eventually will.

“Joe is pretty much right on schedule,” Avery Johnson said, once again mentioning mid-December-January as the time he believes his shooting guard will become more consistent.

C.J. Watson has shot just 28.2 percent and averaged 1.4 assists in his last eight games.

“We need to get him going,” Avery Johnson said.

• Avery Johnson had a funny line about Andray Blatche:

“When he keeps it simple, Andray is a really good passer. Sometimes he goes into his ‘Globetrotter deal,’ which doesn’t yield great results.”