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Nets open the home schedule vs Pacers

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Close, but no. After falling behind by as much as 19 points, the Brooklyn Nets fought hard and almost pulled off a miraculous comeback. Unfortunately for them, they fell a bit short and lost 122-117. This is the first night of a back-to-back. They're off to face the Bucks in their home opener tomorrow night.

Joining the Nets for tonight's festivities will be the Indiana Pacers. After some changes in the offseason, the Pacers are looking to climb into the upper half of the Eastern Conference. They're off to a good start after beating the Mavs in overtime on Wednesday. And like the Nets, they've got a back-to-back tomorrow night. They go to Chicago to face the Bulls.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip is set for 7:30.

Injuries

Randy Foye is day to day with a mild right hamstring strain. Caris LeVert says he’s “probably” a couple of weeks away, the first time he’s put a timetable on his return.

Jeff Teague cut his finger on Wednesday, but he'll be good to go.

The game

We get to see an old friend tonight. Thad Young was traded to the Pacers over the summer and had a nice debut on Wednesday. Thad had 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists in 31 minutes before fouling out. Thad was a good Net and ought to receive a nice hand from the Barclays crowd.

The Pacers are looking to make a nice playoff run, and they have a great opportunity to do so thanks to Paul George. George is one of the ten best players in the league and can wreak havoc on both sides of the ball. George figures to spend some time guarding the Nets best wimg scoring option, Bojan Bogdanovic. Bojan was the focal point of the offense and scored a team high 21 points on 9-17 shooting with three three pointers made.

It's been the case for years, but the Nets are unbelievably bad in third quarters. Brooklyn got outscored by 10 and fell way behind after playing a close first half. As Kenny Atkinson gets a better sense of his rotations, he will find the right lineup that can prevent opposing teams from going on extended runs that decide games early.

The pace of this one should be way up there. Although new coach Nate McMillan coached teams that played very slowly, Larry Bird brought him to Indianapolis to speed things up. It's a bit of a culture change for both men as they look to change their respective styles to adapt to the times. If they succeed, they can get Indy as high as the two seed and a possible matchup vs. the Cavaliers in the Conference Finals.

In keeping with the pace theme, the new point guards will be responsible for setting the tempo. Teague is a guard that can push the pace, break defenses down, and find good looks for his teammates off of penetration. For Jeremy Lin, he'll have to slow Teague down and prevent penetration. Jeremy had a decent debut for Brooklyn on Wednesday and they are going to need him to be excellent every night if they are to succeed.

Milestones

For the first time in the five-year history of the Brooklyn Nets, a Brooklyn native, Coney Island’s Isaiah Whitehead will be on the court. The game will also being a big deal for Kenny Atkinson who will be coaching his first home game. His extended family of 30-to-35 brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, etc. will watch along with his mother, wife and two children.

Meanwhile, Herb Turetsky, the only scorekeeper the Nets have ever had, will begin his 50th year. As Don Burke of the Post writes, during that time, “the team had dressed 446 players, employed 24 head coaches and 14 general managers, had six owners/ownership groups, played in two different leagues and eight arenas located in six different counties spread across two states.”

Congratulations, Herb.

Oh yeah, the Nets begin their 50th season tonight.

Opening Night Fan Fest

As they did for the Islanders, Barclays Center will hold a fan fest on Opening Night. Here’s what to expect...

All fans will receive a 2016-17 magnetic schedule.

  • Pregame activities on the Resorts World Casino NYC Plaza
  • Music from DJ Dallas Green, performances from the Nets Beats drumline and the Brooklyn Breakers
  • T-shirt giveaways and chances to shoot free throws on the Nets snapcourt
  • Face painters and balloon makers on the main concourse

Things start early, at 5:30 p.m.

Also, Bryan Bautista, a former Barclays Center usher and semi-finalist on Season 10 of NBC’s The Voice, will sing the national anthem. Following the game, Bautista will perform in the venue’s Billboard Lounge.

The Nets will wear the all-new Brooklyn Remix jerseys adorned with a special patch for opening night to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

Player to watch: Myles Turner

I've spent a lot of time this year writing about big men and their roles in an evolving league. And Turner, the 20-year-old (won’t turn turn 21 till March) could be among the NBA’s most intriguing centers for a long time.

The 6’11” Texas product opened the season Wednesday with a monster performance vs. Dallas. In his first game as the starting center, Turner produced a team-high 30 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks and several other Mavericks shots altered.

It’s led a lot of people to ask how did he last until No. 11 in the 2015 Draft?

“I’m still learning,” Turner said post game. “The guys have done a good job of talking to me as I’m out there on the court. They want to see me improve and they want to see me do big things. To have a team full of guys that are confident like that is just huge for my career and my longevity.”

Indiana could go as far as Turner takes them.

On the other side is Brook Lopez. The big guy was a total nonfactor on Wednesday and even found himself on the bench to start the second half. Even with all the changes, Lopez is still Brooklyn's best player and will be the person most responsible for whatever amount of success they have this year. It's going to be up to Atkinson to find ways to best accomodate Lopez while installing the new offense.

From the Vault

Since Thad is back in town, check out some of his highlights from when he first joined the team in 2015.

More reading: Indy Cornrows