Nets enjoy first practice at Barclays Center in Brooklyn
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Jay Z and Beyonce had long evacuated the premises and the stage that occupied a hefty portion of the arena's floor was a distant memory, replaced by a basketball court.
Finally, the Nets were able to give their new $1-billion home a test drive, going through a nearly two-hour practice at the Barclays Center Sunday in Brooklyn. But there was one caveat: Arena workers were buzzing around them, setting up for Sunday night's Harlem Globetrotters event.
The Nets also weren't actually playing on their new court with the distinct herringbone pattern, instead utilizing the arena's secondary floor that'll serve as the playing surface for games involving anyone else other than the arena's main tenants.
"It was really a pretty good practice considering all the movement we had going on in the building with them trying to get set up for the event tonight," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "To have all this movement with chairs and all the workers that were here in the building, I thought that we were focused and I told them I was proud of them for that."
This was the Nets' first true chance at making a dry run and gauging different logistics. Whether it was timing out their commutes from their various homes in New Jersey and Manhattan -- luckily it was Sunday, meaning sparse traffic -- sampling their locker room or testing out the depth perception by firing up nonstop jumpers, everything was all good.
About the only real concern for Johnson was the sliver of light that crept underneath the massive black curtains hanging in the arena's grand atrium. That's it.
"I don't think there's an arena like it," Deron Williams said. "They spared no expense. They thought about everything. Our locker room is great. I've been around everything. Usually arenas, I don't go around and look at everything else. But this is the one I've had a chance to go tour and see everything that it has to offer. So, it's great."
Said Kris Humphries: "It's first class. I've never really seen anything like it. Everything is so much bigger and nicer than what we are used to. But it comes down to fans at the games, playing hard and winning games. All this other stuff is great, but it's about winning."
For now, they'll have to settle for winning over some more people on this side of the Hudson River.
"We thought it could be big and we thought people could definitely become fans," Williams said, "but it's pretty much everybody. You have people from Brooklyn hop out of their trucks, hop out of their cars, and stop in the street to say hi and tell me how excited they are about the season and how they are excited about this move."