Saturday, January 21, 2012
D-Will: 'I don't like this arena one bit'
By Mike Mazzeo
NEWARK, N.J. -- Deron Williams says playing in Prudential Center is anything but a homecourt advantage.
“I don’t like this arena one bit,” the Nets point guard said following his team’s 84-74 loss to the Thunder on Saturday night. “It’s a good thing it’s not our arena after this year.”
The Nets tied their season-low, shooting 31 percent from the field on Saturday night, while making a season-low three 3-pointers on 23 attempts. On the season, they’re shooting an NBA-worst 38 percent (183-for-481) at The Rock, and have shot under 40 percent in four of the six games they’ve played there, compiling a 1-5 record. But on the road, where they’re 3-7, they’re shooting 42.9 percent. For what it’s worth, opponents are shooting 48.8 percent (228-for-467) at The Rock.
“Even last year it didn’t feel like our home arena,” said Williams, who is shooting 33.7 percent (30-for-89) there this season compared to 38.1 percent (56-for-147) on the road. "I don’t know why. It just doesn’t feel like it.”
Prudential Center was originally built as the home of the NHL’s Devils in 2007. The Seton Hall men’s basketball team plays its home games there, while the WNBA’s Liberty are playing there for now because Madison Square Garden is undergoing renovations.
The Nets moved to Prudential Center on a temporary basis last season, and will play there this season as well, before leaving for the $1 billion Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2012-13.
“The depth perception’s just not there,” Williams said.
Sharpshooter Anthony Morrow , who is shooting 31.6 percent at home (18-for-57) compared to 43.8 percent on the road (46-for-105), agreed with D-Will’s assessment.
“It’s something about this arena because it was made for hockey, not basketball,” Morrow told the New York Daily News. “As a shooter, I notice a lot of this stuff. The background is different. It’s cold.”
The Nets, of course, are resigned to being a jump-shooting reliant team because center Brook Lopez is out. But their shots weren’t falling on Saturday night.
“I don’t like being a jump-shooting team,” Williams said. “But it’s how we’re built right now, and it’s tough. [We] live by the three and die by the three.”
The only time the Nets have won at home this season -- Wednesday against Golden State -- they conducted their morning shootaround at Prudential Center. They wanted to do it again prior to Saturday’s game, but couldn’t because the Devils were hosting the Flyers in the afternoon.
Coach Avery Johnson said he plans to continue conducting shootarounds at The Rock as often as he can. In the meantime, the Nets are just going to have to make do.
“Guys have played basketball outside, in the dark, [and] in matchbox gyms,” Johnson said before Sunday night’s game against Charlotte. “I didn’t care where I played, because the basket’s 10 feet.”