Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Nets thrilled opener is finally here
Deron Williams wants to open the Barclays Center with a bang Saturday night -- and a victory.
The Nets are going to tip their season off in a hew fours here in Brooklyn against the Raptors, two days later than initially thought due to Thursday's opener against the Knicks getting postponed in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.
Williams said he had a conversation with new backcourt mate Joe Johnson about the urgency of starting things off right.
"It’s very important," the point guard said at the morning shootaround. "Me and Joe were talking about that yesterday. We need to get a win, not even just for this building, but for our team, to get off to a good start."
Johnson is ready to get it cranked up.
"It will be a great feeling," the shooting guard said. "I think we’ve been pretty patient. It’s definitely been tough times here in New York, but it could have been worse. But we’re glad to be back on the court, man, and finally getting a chance to play our first regular season game here in the Barclays Center."
Avery Johnson already had his game face on and didn't even muster a smile as he discussed what lies ahead for his team Saturday night. There was no doubt, though, that he wants to see what he's really got in this year's crew, something he can only truly gauge against an opponent.
"Finally, a game day," he said. "We get a chance to get out and play a real game in front of our fans that have been excited and anxious to support us. So, it will be great."
Williams understands the delicate balancing act that's taken place over these last few days as people try to pick up the pieces of their lives. That's why the Nets are unsure of exactly what kind of crowd to expect, though they've made it clear the fans that do come will inspire them.
"We are definitely sensitive to what’s going on around the northeast," Williams said, "and people not having homes, and losing loved ones and things like that. ... A lot of us are in hotels and still don’t have power, but we are still better off than a lot of people.
"So we are excited to play this game tonight and hopefully bring some excitement to people who haven’t had much lately."