Nets 108, 76ers 105, OT
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- The Nets looked nothing like the team that called New Jersey home for 35 years.
Not with black uniforms and white stripes down the sides.
Certainly not with "Brooklyn" emblazoned on the front of the jerseys.
The Nets had closed the book on New Jersey after spending 35 years in Piscataway, East Rutherford and the team's last home at the Prudential Center in Newark. Turns out, the franchise had one more game left in its old home state.
"We've done a lot of commercials and we've done so many interviews talking about Brooklyn, it was finally good to see them out in a Brooklyn Nets uniform," coach Avery Johnson said.
He knows it's good to have Joe Johnson and Deron Williams in the backcourt, a duo the Nets could have used in New Jersey. Johnson, acquired from Atlanta in the offseason, scored 13 points in his debut. Williams had 14 points.
The Nets make their Brooklyn debut in the $1 billion state-of-the-art Barclays Center on Monday against Washington. The true Brooklyn debut is the regular-season opener on Nov. 1 against New York.
"Hopefully, we'll carry it over into the Barclays Center that we've been all been anxiously awaiting for a long time," Avery Johnson said.
The Barclays Center will be rocking that night, with some A-list celebrities and a pregame spectacle sure to highlight the return of major pro sports to the borough. Saturday was a Sixers home game and there were only a smattering of cheers for the Nets and a few "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" T-shirts.
Brooklyn hasn't had major professional sports since the Dodgers left town in 1957. Fans can't wait to root for the new home team.
"I'm hearing we're going to have a pretty good crowd for a preseason game," Avery Johnson said. "A lot of folks are talking about it. I heard the lines are going to be long for a preseason game before the doors are open. That's what we want. That's what they do in Oklahoma City and a lot of other teams where franchises have relocated to a city and a stadium."
The Nets have raised expectations following a 22-44 record in the lockout-shortened season. Along with Johnson, the Nets added veterans Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Childress, Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson, Reggie Evans and European free agent Mirza Teletovic.
"We're ready," coach Avery Johnson said before the game.
At 6:45 p.m., the public address announcer said for the first time, "Now taking the court, the Brooklyn Nets." Kris Humphries dunked for the first basket in a Brooklyn uniform.
The Nets came out strong against a Sixers team that underwent their own offseason makeover. Gone are veterans Elton Brand, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala. In are Bynum, Kwame Brown, Nick Young, Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright, Maalik Wayns and Arnett Moultrie. Coach Doug Collins gave Richardson and Wright the night off because of a loaded preseason schedule where they'll play five more times by Oct. 22.
"We've got to get in better condition," Collins said. "I've been a little bit worried about pushing the guys in camp and we've got a few older guys. We've got a few guys who, coming in, were a little heavy."
Young scored 21 points and Wayns scored 18 points.
The Sixers brought a nearly 7,000 fans at Boardwalk Hall to life after they sliced a 13-point hole to only 95-93 with 1:16 left.
Damien Wilkins tied the game for the Sixers with two free throws with 45 seconds left. C.J Watson of the Nets missed a runner as time expired in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Watson, who scored 19 points, atoned in overtime with a pair of free throws that gave the Nets a 108-105 lead.
Blatche scored 19 points and Josh Childress had 12.
"We don't have guys on this team that are similiar," Joe Johnson said. "We have guys that have high IQs and tonight it showed."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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