Nets in a London fog after their bloody-awful traveling schedule
LONDON - He had to hark back to how it typically goes down for most college students in the hours leading up to a major exam, pulling an all-nighter with zero sleep.
This wasn't exactly one of those planned sessions, though. But the crazy travel of the road-weary Nets, who find themselves in their third country in a matter of four days, had Nets guard Joe Johnson all out of whack.
"Man, you know what?" Johnson said Tuesday after practice at Imperial College. "I haven't been to sleep. We got in [Monday] and honestly, I slept for like five or six hours and I've been up ever since. I didn't even go to sleep [Monday] night. I'm on fumes right now."
That's why the Nets needed to work out the kinks Tuesday, getting acclimated to London as they prepare for Thursday's game with the Atlanta Hawks. Their whirlwind travel schedule, paired with unexpected delays Saturday night, had them bleary-eyed.
Just get a load of the Nets' itinerary since Friday's double-overtime victory over the Heat: landed in Toronto at 4 a.m. Saturday; got stuck on the tarmac heading home late Saturday night and arrived in Newark at 5:15 a.m. Sunday; then turned around and hopped on a lengthy flight here Sunday evening.
So imagine if the schedule the league had initially made for the Nets -- which also had them playing Monday -- wasn't altered once the team voiced its displeasure.
Talk about brutal.
"We are very happy to get a little break," Andrei Kirilenko said. "Our schedule the last three days was very tough traveling-wise. We had the double-overtime against Miami. Four o'clock, we landed in Toronto. After the game, we waited like four, five hours in the airport. Then a six-hour flight to London. It's kind of been messy with the traveling, but right now, we have only one game for five days and this is a very good break for us."
The trick is to find that right balance between business and pleasure. No doubt, the Nets are in the midst of a unique experience, visiting a foreign land to play a regular-season game that could have some important ramifications on potential playoff position.
Many of the players brought family members and had grandiose sightseeing plans, wanting to stroll past the likes of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Kevin Garnett even visited Chelsea FC as part of an NBA event, mugging for the cameras as he hoisted a blue custom soccer jersey.
The Nets are taking delight in being here, though they insist they're fully aware of the true reason they're on this side of the pond.
"You don't get a lot of opportunities to travel abroad," Paul Pierce said. "It's a great position, getting opportunities to come to London in the middle of the season as part of the NBA. So you've got to have time to yourself to enjoy what you are able to do. Not a lot of people have this opportunity, so you've got to enjoy it while you can.
"Who knows? A lot of people may never get a chance to come back to London. You just never know. So you've got to enjoy it. But at the same time, we know we are here for a basketball game. But definitely [we're] going to enjoy the sights and see what London is all about."