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Nets get off to a fast start at first official practice

Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett poses for a portrait during

Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett poses for a portrait during the team's media day at the Barclays Center. (Sept. 30, 2013) Credit: AP

DURHAM, N.C. -- Kevin Garnett barked instructions, his distinct voice noticeable above the screeching of sneakers echoing in the gym as he implored his new teammates not to cheat on a drill.

Nonstop clapping was also prevalent as Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans, Shaun Livingston and Garnett ran up and down the court with a sense of purpose in the five-man drill, all while coach Jason Kidd looked on as his assistants offered instructions.

Within a few minutes of the team's first official practice Tuesday, one thing was obvious: The Nets have cranked up the intensity meter into another stratosphere. Already.

"It was good, man," said Deron Williams, who along with Jason Terry was limited in practice as he nurses an ankle injury. "The energy was great today during practice. I don't want to say night and day from last year, but it's just a different feeling."

After months of intrigue, the Nets finally got to see their new product on the floor together as they opened their five-day training camp at Duke University, spending most of their time going over their base defensive principles. They were dripping with enthusiasm, ecstatic to get the most anticipated season in franchise history tipped off.

"It was exciting," Pierce said. "I was really anxious. I was more anxious than anything after we worked out together this summer, being in the gym the last couple of weeks. To actually get out there and start the journey, start the preparation for the season, definitely there's a lot of excitement."

The Nets' first practice was the next step of their jelling process, which also included a powwow not long after they arrived in town Monday night. The team broke bread -- and then the ice. They held a players/coaches meeting and Kidd said the players did most of the speaking, with Garnett not surprisingly among the most vocal.

"People talked about what they want to accomplish, and what their roles were and how we are all in it together," Pierce said. "That's when we were really feeling like the mission really started. Today was just part of laying down the foundation on a long road. It's going to be a long, long year. I'm just hoping everybody understands that."

In other words, they'll need to keep that youthful exuberance they displayed Tuesday.

"I think everybody has got kind of revitalized, excited about this year," Williams said. " . . . It just feels different. The energy, like I said, was better and the excitement is there."

Notes & quotes: Terry (left knee) is recovering from offseason surgery and said he hopes to practice in full by Thursday.

New York Sports