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Brooklyn Nets triumph in borough’s first home game since 1957

The Brooklyn Paper
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1/5
The Nets took the court — and won — in an historic first game at the Barclays Center.
2/5
Hoops fans flocked to the Barclays Center for the Nets season opener.
3/5
Point guard Deron Williams racked up 19 points and dished out nine assists in the Nets win.
4/5
Jay-Z and Beyonce had great seats.
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Brooklyn basketball fans waited for ages to see this moment.

The Nets kicked off a new era with a victory over the Toronto Raptors in the first pro sports home game in Brooklyn since 1957 — providing a moment of respite for a borough still reeling from Hurricane Sandy.

The Nets bounced back from an early first quarter deficit, riding on a 27-point performance by center Brook Lopez to a 107–100 win — a victory that whipped fans in the newly minted arena into a frenzy, chanting “Brooklyn!” as the clock wound down.

Hoops fans in the sold-out crowd of 17,732 said the experience was everything they hoped it would be.

“It’s so good to be here,” said Bill Donlon, a Nets fan who trekked to the game from Long Island. “This was awesome.”

The match-up became the Nets opener after Mayor Bloomberg canceled the team’s much-hyped debut against cross-river rivals the New York Knicks on Thursday following the storm.

There were a sprinkling of empty seats on the first level of the arena — not a pretty a sight on opening night, but not altogether unsurprising with limited train access entering the borough and gas lines wrapped around service stations across the region.

The stadium drew rave reviews from even those whose livelihoods had been directly affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“I’m so proud to have been here for the first game,” said Rick Mast, who runs the artisanal chocolate factory Mast Brothers in Williamsburg with his brother, Michael.

“Even though there was a hurricane, this victory was very sweet for us,” said the chocolatier, whose business suffered some damage at a Manhattan location during the storm. “It’s something that brings the community together.”

Mast’s bearded visage appeared on the JumboTron during a dance break to great cheers.

NBA commissioner David Stern and Borough President Marty Markowitz tipped off the night with speeches before the jump ball.

“Brooklyn-style basketball is here,” said Markowitz, flanked by two Nets dancers. “How … sweet … it … is!”

And Jay-Z made his mark on the game, from his courtside seats right next to the Nets bench with Beyonce, to the snippets of his songs that burst out between plays.

He sported high-end Nike Air Jordan I Custom “Brooklyn Zoo” sneakers — one of ten pairs in existence — made from much of the animal kingdom, including elephant, ostrich, boa, crocodile, python, calf, lizard, alligator, and stingray.

The event went off largely without a hitch, though some fans complained about speaker problems.

“The Nets arena announcer sounds like he’s talking on an old school subway conductor speaker system,” wrote journalist Ben Adler on Twitter. “That is not a compliment.”

Even the team — which relocated its workouts to the Barclays Center this week due to storm damage at its practice facility in New Jersey — is already feeling at home in the borough.

“The experience was amazing,” said Lopez. “The crowd brought so much Brooklyn energy.”

The Nets host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night and will take on the Knicks in a rescheduled match-up on Nov. 26.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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Reader Feedback

JAY from NYC says:
Brooklyn Paper, not a good job on this artilce, the Cyclones are a pro team and have been playing in Brooklyn since 2001, for 11 years.
The Brooklyn Aviators, although they have folded as of this year, played several seasons in Brooklyn. This was a really simple thing to research and you totally failed.
Your headline could have said something like MAJOR PRO TEAM or something like that to indicate a difference, but you did not, and were lazy and sloppy.
Nov. 4, 2012, 11:04 am
Remix from FlatHeightsBushSlopeHill says:
Hey Jay, the Brooklyn Paper been covering the Cyclones for years, in addition to the Aviators. http://www.brooklynpaper.com/sections/sports/cyclones/

Do your research.
Nov. 4, 2012, 12:20 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
cyclones are a farm team - not exactly pro yet and yes the bp has covred them for years. bp is referring to the dodgers who were/are a pro team. jay - are your really from nyc or just live here.
Nov. 4, 2012, 2:22 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
I wish all those big strong guys would spend their time in Staten Island helping with hurricane clean up. And it'd be great to see the freezing cold residents with no power offered free tix to a heated stadium full of food. Like anyone I know in Brooklyn is really worried about what the NBA is doing right now.
Nov. 4, 2012, 3:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
A first game can say anything. Just because they won that doesn't mean that they are better. I did look at the box score over on NBA.com, and saw that it wasn't even a sellout game, because there still a few hundred seats still open as shown on TV. Knowing the nostalgia of Brooklyn sports is irrelevant to the Nets, because we all know that they are not the Dodgers and never will be like them. By no surprise, the praise Ratner and his cronies when it was really the taxpayers who funded the arena. Wining the first game doesn't change the way I view what got this arena built especially when eminent domain was used to remove those who didn't even want to sell, but were given no choice to do so despite that. It makes so glad that a website such as the AY Report exists exposing what is really going on rather than those who just bow down to it like sheep. Brooklyn is still predominately Knicks territory even with the Nets there, and most fans don't convert even if the won they have is doing bad for a number of seasons. If that was the case, I would be rooting for the Yankees rather than the Mets.
Nov. 4, 2012, 3:36 pm
Jennifer from Carroll Gardens says:
It's puzzling that it was deemed inappropriate and insensitive for the NYC Marathon to take place; yet teams owned by the richest people in America received no criticism and media portray them as a "respite" and a "boost" to the region. This paper, like all other corporate-owned media, are hypocrites and undermine the public good.
Nov. 4, 2012, 7:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
You do know that they did postpone the game against the Knicks that was supposed to played last Thursday to 11/26 due to all the problems that were going, though I am still not a fan of the Nets coming to Brooklyn, which I was against since it was first mentioned.
Nov. 4, 2012, 8:31 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You're sort of obsessive, eh? Have you thought about mental health counseling? (I don't mean that as a insult... I think you could really benefit.)
Nov. 4, 2012, 9:23 pm
jay from nyc says:
remix, yes they do cover them and yet they fail to mention them in the article.
So who needs to do the research, the paper who says there are NO other pro teams in Brooklyn (even though they cover those teams) or me, who pointed out that the same paper incorrectly printed that there are no other pro teams in Brooklyn?
Old time, cyclones are a farm team, but they ARE still pro, they get paid to play and that how those guys get their money playing PRO ball. Farm teams ARE PRO!!
If you knew anything about sports you would know that if you play for the cyclones, you are no longer considered an amateur athlete and can no longer play in the NCAA because they ARE a pro team, and they ARE also in Brooklyn, (which the paper got wrong) so its really you who needs to be asked if you live in Brooklyn and if you know ANYTHING about sports because it sure does not seem like it.
Jennifer, its not puzzling at all that the NYC Marathon got canceled but Nets played. They are totally different things with totally different impacts.
The NYC Marathon requires over 1,000 police officers, hundreds of EMTs, and dozens of doctors, not too mention about 45 generators, tie up hydrants needed for water, scads of vehicles using fuel which is in short supply, and close roads and bridges which are needed to be open right now so responders can get in and out of areas.
A Nets game needs almost none of that, about all it needs maybe 8-10 police officers for crowd control, and that is it. So NOT the same thing as a city wide marathon.
And TY as usual you contribute nothing and should be banned.
Nov. 5, 2012, 11:03 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
To add insult to injury, the Nets abandoned Sly, who was such a loved mascot, for this Brooklyn Knight. It was as if they wanted to take away anything that reminded them of NJ, where the majority of the Nets fan base really is. Truthfully, does anyone really think just moving the team to Brooklyn will make them better? I would say that it's nothing more than a superstition, because as long as the team plays the same as they have been, they will just be looked at as the same team just with a different look and location. Clothes don't make the man, the man makes the clothes. If the results do end up the same as the last number seasons it will be seen as putting lipstick on a pig. As for the Cyclones, at least they actually get coverage especially when you compare that to the NY Liberty, who barely get any coverage even in the major NYC papers. It just makes me wonder if they ever win a championship, will it even get covered or just go unmentioned? Last time I checked, even minor professional and local sports gets more coverage than the WNBA ever does, which is mostly a sports wire at most.
Nov. 5, 2012, 2:58 pm
scott from park slope says:
The court looks beautiful. So good to have a home team to root for in the NBA that isn't the Knicks. Also great that the Islanders are moving here too. Maybe one day there'll be a pro baseball team again. We can dream, right?
Nov. 6, 2012, 12:30 pm

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