Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
This has been a crazy 24 hours for New York City and the tri-state area’s basketball fans. But now, there is at least one certainty: The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will not be opening Barclays Center on Thursday evening.
Citing security concerns, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced during a Hurricane Sandy briefing on Wednesday afternoon that the highly-anticipated, nationally-televised season opener would be postponed.
A makeup date is still unclear, but in a statement from NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, the league will announce a new date. Silver said the postponement came at the recommendation of Bloomberg.
The news was first reported on Twitter by NBA TV analyst Greg Anthony and confirmed by Nets General Manager Billy King before Mayor Bloomberg stepped to the podium.
“At my recommendation, the NBA has canceled tomorrow night’s game between the Knicks and the Nets,” he said. “Now, the first Nets game will be Saturday at 7:30pm at Barclays Center, the Nets play the Toronto Raptors.”
The Nets practiced at Barclays Center on Wednesday and got wind of the decision before Mayor Bloomberg made the public announcement. Nets point guard Deron Williams kept everything in perspective. ”We are disappointed that we can’t play, but there are a lot more important things going on right now,” he said.
The announcement was a strange about-face for the NBA. On Tuesday, the league announced that the Knicks and Nets would play as scheduled, despite widespread power outages in parts of New York City and a severely limited public transporation system.
Barlcays Center is within a stone’s throw of 11 subway lines at the Atlantic Ave. terminal and is heavily dependent on those subway lines and the nearby Long Island Railroad to bring fans to the arena.
Limited service on several MTA subway lines that serve Atlantic Ave., including the N and R lines, is expected to resume sometime on Thursday.
Although Thursday night’s game has been canceled, Mayor Bloomberg confirmed that the Nets’ scheduled contest against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday evening will be played. He did not, however, make any mention of whether or not the Knicks home opener would play as scheduled. The Knicks are currently slated to square off against the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
As of now, the game is scheduled to be played.
Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald told reporters at the MSG Training Center in Greenburgh, N.Y. that the team should be ‘good to go’ on Friday.
Most of the areas surrounding Madison Square Garden—which is located at Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets—are without power and Mayor Bloomberg believes that it will be several days before it is fully restored.
When asked by a reporter in attendance whether New York City would be “back to normal” by next Monday, Mayor Bloomberg responded by telling the reporter that she should cross her fingers and that he doesn’t have a crystal ball.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA.