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Nets arrive in Mexico, hoping to gain a few advantages as they wait for Thunder, Heat

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Brooklyn Nets

The Nets were the first of the three NBA teams playing in the NBA’s Mexico City Games to arrive in North America’s largest city, touching down Tuesday after a 2,088 mile journey from Brooklyn. The Thunder, who the Nets play Thursday, won their third straight Tuesday night beating the Jazz in OKC while the Heat, the Nets opponent on Saturday, play the Spurs Thursday on their way to Mexico.

So that should give the Nets a couple of advantages. They’ll have an extra day to adjust to the 7,382 foot altitude, 2,100 feet higher than Denver, the highest city (in many ways) NBA teams visit each year. The players, coaches and staff will get to see more of the big tourist sites and the organization will get another day to push the brand in a metropolitan area of more than 21 million people.

And the Nets performance team also gets a chance to give the team an advantage. Kenny Atkinson said he wouldn’t reveal the plans to beat writers Brian Lewis and Greg Logan.

“Our performance team is giving them a bunch of [instructions]. Zach Weatherford has experience with the Olympic team and Dan Meehan has experience at altitude,” said Atkinson, referring to the team’s director of player performance and head of strength and conditioning. “I can’t tell you our secrets because I don’t want the enemy to know, but I do think we have things in place that will help our guys.”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson wasn’t so bound by the Nets code of silence.

“They told us to hydrate a lot, and just to get our red blood count up I guess, with the steam room. Just pretty much because of different altitude, and oxygen is different and all that; and we’re not, most people are not used to. Just getting us prepared for that physically and mentally, that’s something we’re a step ahead of,” said RHJ, comparing the Nets to the Thunder and Heat.

Hollis-Jefferson also admits the Nets won’t have the advantage of playing at home, although the two games are counted as home games on the schedule. He understands the Thunder, in particular, has all those name players.

They have a bunch of superstars so individually they might have more fans than us there. We understand that,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “But we also understand it’s a mindset. you’ve got to have going into it, about how you prepare, how you play, how you feel. … And I feel like we feel good and we’re going to play good.”