The New Jersey Nets opened their season last night with a come from behind 101-98 win over the Detroit Pistons. Playing a regular season game at the Prudential Center in Newark for the first time, Nets fans got a glimpse of excitement.
15,178 fans showed up to take in the Nets season opener. That may not sound like a lot to the regular NBA fan, but it is certainly a good sign for the Nets. If they keep winning, or at least playing exciting basketball, that number will increase.
Exciting basketball was seen last night. Down by 10 with just over six minutes to play, New Jersey had it’s first gut-check of the season.
Everything seemed new about this team last night. New arena, new owner, 11 new players, new season, and new confidence.
The Nets were still down by seven with only 1:40 remaining in the game. Last season, if the team was lucky enough to be that close, you knew there was no chance of them pulling up a win.
New season, remember?
Jordan Farmar and Anthony Morrow hit clutch three pointers and Devin Harris put together a very nice run and the team played solid defense in the final minute and a half. That’s exciting basketball.
The Nets showed some depth in this game. Five players scored in double figures and ten scored at least a point.
Center Brook Lopez led all scorers with 25 points, while pulling down nine rebounds. Starting guards Devin Harris and Anthony Morrow combined to score 35 points. Harris also had nine assists.
New Jersey also got solid production from the bench. Terrence Williams and Farmar each scored ten points while rookie first round pick Derrick Favors scored eight and grabbed ten rebounds in just twenty minutes.
Nets head coach Avery Johnson continues to say Favors is not ready for the starting lineup. If Favors can consistently put up numbers like that off the bench, Johnson may need to rethink his stance. Starting power forward Joe Smith play just over five minutes and missed his only shot attempt.
The Nets are going to be a fun group. They may not win the majority of their games, but they will provide some hope and excitement.
At least for one night, they showed they can step up the defense in crunch time and hit the big bucket when needed. Lopez can control the middle, Harris and Williams can get to the hoop, and Morrow and Farmar are more then capable of knocking down a big three pointer.
When Troy Murphy can return healthy, it will only help.
Avery Johnson has this team moving in the right direction and Nets fans should be happy with what they saw last night at The Rock.