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Nets back home, with a big game and Jason Collins' New York debut on tap

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Brooklyn Nets

The Nets flew to New York overnight, their chartered Delta 757 a happy plane.  After 11 days and six games played in places like Salt Lake City and Milwaukee, they're headed back to New York for a tough and important game vs. the Bulls plus Jason Collins' New York debut.

A 4-2 record on any western swing has to be considered a big positive, particularly when it's in the post-All Star Game sprint.  There were some negatives: the Nets lost to the only two teams with winning records, they failed to exhibit a killer instinct even against bad teams and their rebounding continued to be a big issue.  In the six games, they were outrebounded, 274 (45.7 per game) to 226 (37.7). They won the battle of the boards only once, vs. the woeful Lakers.

There were, however, a lot more positives. Fears that Collins signing would result in a "media circus" never materialized, although New York will be interesting on Monday. Expect a lot of Collins 98 jerseys in the stands. They also integrated Collins and sharpshooter Marcus Thornton into the rotation. Thornton averaged 14.7 points on 48 percent in the three games he came off the bench.  And Deron Williams played well, even with Kidd monitoring his minutes.

As for Collins, he played well enough, setting screens, showing off a strong BBIQ and more importantly showing a degree of professionalism on and off the court. Increasingly, he seemed willing to talk about his unique status, recounting his meeting with the parents of Matthew Shepard and his phone call with Michael Sam, the Missouri defensive lineman who came out last month. He, like Thornton, will be playing their first home games as Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

"I wasn’t so much worried about the response because he’s a very good person so when you talk about his character he’s as good as they come," said his coach, who played with Collins on the New Jersey Nets from 2001-08. "So I wasn’t really worried about the response. I was just more worried about his conditioning and his free throws and I was glad to see he made one last time."

  • Jason Collins tries to keep focus on court with Nets - Mitch Abramson - New York Daily News
  • It's been a whirlwind week for Nets' Jason Collins - Rod Boone - Newsday
  • Bucks coach praises Jason Collins - Joe Tortoraitis - ESPN New York
  • Bolstered by Their Depth, Nets Head Home on the Rise - Rob Reischel - New York Times
  • Jason Collins talks about coming out, returning to NBA - Charles F. Gardner - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel