Brooklyn Nets FINALLY get to open Barclays Center

Bruce Bennett

It isn't what we thought it would be. It isn't against who we thought it would be against. What it is is about basketball, championship basketball, games played to determine who wins an NBA title. It's about opening an arena, but it's more than that. There will be a lot of hoop-la, a game but the results will count in the standings now and at the end of the season, when playoff rankings are decided.

In other words, Brooklyn or not, Barclays Center or not, it's a big game because it's the first one..

Sure, there will be the introduction of the new team "mascot," now called a "SuperHero" (because of his Marvel Comics lineage), a new anthem to introduce the players, new crisp white uniforms, and surprises. (We know of a few, but we're sworn to secrecy.)

But this is ultimately about the GAME. The Raptors are a division rival with athleticism and length and a much anticipated rookie in Jonas Valunciunas, a seven-footer taken fifth in the 2011 draft. Valunciunas is one of two seven footers Toronto starts upfront. The other is Andreas Bargnani, a fellow European. The two combined for 28 points and 13 rebounds, 10 by the big Lithuanian. Kyle Lowry had 21 and eight assists The rest of the starting lineup was a big underwhelming in the two point loss to the Pacers. Landry Fields went scoreless in 24 minutes, despite his $20 million contract. DeMar DeRozan, who signed a $40 million contract earlier in the day, had 10.

More importantly, the Raptors went the last 4:31 without a field goal and even gave the Nets coaching staff some bulletin board material. Kyle Lowry said Joe Johnson's big role on the Nets was giving Deron Williams "rest" and Dwane Casey, the Raptors coach, said of Jay-Z and Beyonce': "I like their music, but I don't like their team."

As for the Nets, it's all about anticipation. With the postponement of the Knicks game, the Nets will become the last NBA team to open this season. They haven't played in 11 days, an extraordinary time. "We're just tired of scrimmaging each other," said Kris Humphries. "We want to play against someone else. Its been a while and we are ready to go."

Josh Childress (ankle) won't play for the Nets and Keith Bogans will see limited duty. Otherwise, everyone is healthy. The game will be telecast on NBA TV.

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