Saturday, November 3, 2012

Brooklyn Nets Win Season Opener

Deron Williams and Brook Lopez led the Nets to an opening night
victory against the Raptors.

      In their first regular season game at the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets pulled off a gritty victory against their Atlantic Division rival, the Toronto Raptors, winning by a final score of 107-100. Here's some quick highlights and analysis of the game:

- Before the game, Deron Williams and NBA commissioner David Stern presented concise speeches to an exuberant Brooklyn crowd. Williams, Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace then exchanged jerseys with former Brooklyn Dodgers Ralph Branca, Joe Pignatano and the son of legendary Dodger Gil Hodges, Gil Hodges Jr.

- Deron Williams scored the first official basket of Brooklyn Nets history, hitting a 20-foot jumper from the left wing early in the first quarter.

- Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry has proven in the first two games that he can be an effective starter for the Raptors. In their first two games, he's scored 49 points, dished out 16 assists and collected 15 rebounds while also being a stout defender. Deron Williams is the better, flashier point guard, but Lowry has proven over the past couple seasons that he can be an effective starter and on-court leader and shall provide Williams good competition throughout the Brooklyn-Toronto matchups this year.

- Center Brook Lopez led the Nets in scoring with 27 points. However, he grabbed a mere five rebounds. After looking impressive on the glass in the preseason, Nets fans should hope that he doesn't revert back to his rebounding efficiency -- or lack thereof -- of the past two seasons.

- In only 16 minutes of play, Nets big man Reggie Evans grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Not one player on either team corralled more than ten rebounds in tonight's contest except Evans.

- After accomplishing a double-double in his first NBA game, Raptors rookie center Jonas Valanciunas struggled against the Nets, scoring two points and collecting three rebounds in a brief dozen minutes of play.

- The Nets dominated the Raptors in scoring in the paint 52-34.

- Nets guard/forward Joe Johnson, a six-time All Star, had a modest stat line in his Nets debut, scoring 14 points, grabbing five rebounds, distributing four assists and getting one steal in a team-high 40 minutes of play.

- After recently signing a 4 year/$40 million contract extension to stay with the Raptors after this season, guard DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points at the Nets' new home. Toronto General Manager Bryan Colangelo has been widely criticized after re-signing DeRozan, but Raptors fans hope that he can prove doubters wrong and consistently produce exceptional scoring numbers.

- Point guard C.J. Watson provided the Nets with a huge spark off the bench by scoring 15 points. He connected on three of his four three-point attempts. Watson also contributed heavily on the defensive side of the ball, getting one steal and two blocks in 28 minutes of play. He and star point guard Deron Williams showed exciting chemistry while on the court together.

- Nets forward Gerald Wallace suffered an apparent ankle injury late in the fourth quarter. The X-rays were reported to be negative and he is listed as day-to-day. His status for Monday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves is unknown.

      The Nets opened the season with a bang, starting their re-branding in Brooklyn with a symbolic victory. The Raptors endured for most of the game, but couldn't hold up in what would turn out to be their second consecutive loss. The Nets are 1-0 on the season and the Raptors are 0-2. Both teams' next games will be against Minnesota.

Have a question or comment about the Brooklyn Nets? Send me some feedback in the comments section below or shoot me a tweet on Twitter @TheSkiReport.

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