Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Knicks-Nets to play Thursday
By Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- The highly anticipated regular-season opener between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks scheduled for Thursday night at the Nets' $1 billion Barclays center will be played as scheduled, despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank on Tuesday afternoon tweeted that the league is "assessing the situation" but said in an email later Tuesday evening that the game would go on as scheduled.
Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz was uncertain of the game's status but vowed to support any decision made by authorities.
"Right now, our biggest priority in Brooklyn is helping with the recovery from this terrible storm," Markowitz said in a statement to ESPNNewYork.com. "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.
"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. ... 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."
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.
Reaching the Barclays Center could be a problem for Nets rookie point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who tweeted on Tuesday night that he's currently stranded at his Hoboken, N.J., apartment building as a result of the hurricane.
"My building is literally an island .. flooded by water on all sides !!!" Taylor tweeted.
He later tweeted, "no power and I can't call out ..," and "this s--- is real ..."
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a news conference on Tuesday that he hopes the game will be played as scheduled, and will be in attendance if it occurs.
The Nets will practice at the Barclays Center on Wednesday afternoon because power is out in their East Rutherford, N.J., training facility, a team spokesman confirmed. The Knicks held practice on Tuesday evening at their facility in Greenburgh and planned to do so again on Wednesday morning.
Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley are regular contributors to ESPNNewYork.com.