Mikhail Prokhorov: We responded

Updated: April 26, 2014, 3:00 AM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Same to you.

That's essentially what Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said -- minus any expletives -- when asked whether he had a response to Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri saying, "F--- Brooklyn!" at a fan rally outside Air Canada Centre prior to the start of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first-round series between the two Atlantic Division teams.

"I think maybe the best [response] is to say the same for Brooklyn's fans," Prokhorov told ESPNNewYork.com following the Nets' 102-98 victory over the Raptors in Game 3 on Friday night at Barclays Center. "And we'll see if they have an answer."

[+] EnlargePaul Pierce and Kevin Garnett
Elsa/Getty ImagesKevin Garnett reminded the crowd to show its Brooklyn pride in Friday's Game 3 win by the Nets.

The Nets nearly blew a 15-point lead in the final 5:01 of Game 3 but were able to hang on.

Prokhorov watched the game from his owner's suite above the lower level at center court, and the antsy Russian billionaire was able to breathe a sigh of relief when the final buzzer sounded.

"It's victory. It's very important," he said.

Prokhorov, who is paying for the most expensive roster in NBA history -- more than $190 million between payroll and luxury taxes -- had not attended a Nets game in person since Jan. 16 in London. The only other Nets game he has attended this season was their regular-season opener Nov. 1.

The Nets now lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday night in Brooklyn.

Ujiri, who was in attendance Friday night, quickly apologized for his choice of words.

"I apologized to Brooklyn," Ujiri reiterated to ESPNNewYork.com prior to the game. "I meant it more to get our fans going and get us believing in ourselves, so it wasn't about Brooklyn at all."

But his disdain for the Nets understandably remains.

At halftime of Game 1, Ujiri, who ended up getting fined $25,000 by the NBA, said with a chuckle, "You know how I feel. ... I don't like 'em."

While it is unknown whether any of Brooklyn's fans razzed Ujiri at Friday's game, the soldout crowd frequently chanted, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" throughout the night.

"I thought it was great," Nets coach Jason Kidd said when asked about the energy in the building. "The fans were awesome for 48 minutes, and we hope for the same on Sunday."

Nets center Kevin Garnett got the fans riled up late in the first half when he dove for a loose ball and got up popping the "Brooklyn" on the front of his white home jersey. A 10-0 Brooklyn run also helped.

"That's part of playing at home," said Nets point guard Deron Williams, who finished with 22 points. "You know, the crowd gets into it [after] hustle plays, big shots and dunks. We feed off them, they feed off us, so I thought our crowd was great tonight and they'll continue to be great."

Garnett did not talk after Game 3 but certainly noticed Ujiri's comment going into the game and was eager to see how the home crowd would respond.

"I don't know if you can say 'F Brooklyn' and then come into Brooklyn," Garnett said earlier in the week. "So we're about to see what it's like."

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