When they set foot in their home digs for the first time in nearly three weeks Monday night, it might be a mild upset if the Nets remember how to get to their locker room.
No one would blame them if they were stricken with a mild case of amnesia.
Latest Nets stories
"We've been gone so long, this could be like training camp for us,'' coach Jason Kidd said after a 107-98 victory over the Bucks on Saturday night that completed a stretch of seven straight games away from their $1-billion playground. "So we'll be excited to see home.''
Perhaps nobody is as eager as Jason Collins. After playing four road contests since inking his 10-day deal Feb. 23, Monday night's matchup with the Bulls at Barclays Center will be Collins' first time in front of his own team's fans.
In fact, he'll be able to peer into the stands and glance at his personal cheering section.
"Yeah, it will be a lot of fun,'' Collins said. "I have some family and friends coming to the game. I'm looking forward to seeing them and obviously the first home game.''
Collins' teammates expect a stirring reaction from the fans, particularly because he played six-plus seasons for the Nets in New Jersey. His contract ends Tuesday; barring something unforeseen, many expect the Nets to sign him to at least another 10-day deal.
So this probably won't be the home fans' lone chance to cheer on the 35-year-old. But there's nothing like a first game back home after a whirlwind week filled with so many emotional moments.
"I think it will be interesting,'' Deron Williams said. "I think it will be great. He played here for how many years? Shoot, most of his career, and was on one of those teams that went to the Finals. So he should get a great reception coming home.''
Said Kidd: "I think they all will support a Net. He's been a Net before and I think they'll be excited to have him. But the big thing is him being able to help us defensively, and being the good character person that he is, and being able to help Mase. He taught Mase how to foul [Saturday]. So I've got to keep him away from Mase. But I think Jason will be fine.''
Kidd was referring to rookie Mason Plumlee, who started at center against the Bucks with Kevin Garnett sitting out with back spasms that began in Thursday's win over the Nuggets. The rookie picked up two quick fouls in the game's initial 2:48 and was forced to grab a seat for the bulk of the half, playing only 40 seconds more until the break.
In his short time with the Nets, Collins has constantly been in Plumlee's ear, giving him pointers whenever he can.
"Definitely, that's part of my role, especially the past several years,'' Collins said. "So it's important as a veteran to share what knowledge I have with the younger guys. When I was a younger guy, I learned from Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and it's a cycle. Now that I'm that old man at the end of the bench, that veteran, even though I might not be playing minutes, there are other ways I can definitely help this team win.''
It's that kind of mentality that has made Collins a quick hit with the few Nets he hadn't played with previously. It's also the reason Plumlee is confident that Collins will be showered with affection in Brooklyn Monday night.
"Oh, yeah, he's getting a standing 'O' for sure,'' Plumlee said. "I'd be shocked if he didn't.''