Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
UNIONDALE – Paltry attendance and a grim financial outlook helped force the then-New York Nets out of Nassau Coliseum and off Long Island for good after the 1976-77 season. Tonight, for one night only, they return to one of their original stomping grounds.
With the highly-anticipated season opener between the two teams eight days away, the Brooklyn Nets will take on the New York Knicks at Nassau Coliseum, which expected to be close to or at its basketball capacity of 17,260.
This is the preseason finale for both teams and the first NBA game played between two teams from New York since Feb. 22, 1977, a 100-80 Knicks win over the Nets.
After the jump, your Pregame Primer.
Avery Johnson’s Gamesmanship
With eight days until the Knicks and Nets meet for real in the season opener, Nets head coach Avery Johnson doesn’t appear to be giving anything away, nor does he feel the need to hype up the game or the Knicks anymore than has already been done.
“We’re just gonna play, let it happen, get some minutes for our guys, hopefully play hard, hopefully have a better defensive effort,” Johnson said when asked about a potential starting lineup for tonight. “At the same time, offensively, we want to have good spacing. We had a couple of good days of practice, so we’ll see how it carries over.”
Call it gamesmanship, sandbagging or his honest opinion, but no one is likely to get anything even approaching controversial out of Johnson.
Furthermore, he reiterated that the Knicks are not the only team on the schedule and not the only team the Nets have to beat to be successful and begin to contend in the Eastern Conference.
Long story short, with the opener looming, downplaying everything appears to be the goal.
“There are other NBA teams that we have to be successful against,” Johnson said. “Right now, the Miami Heat are Eastern Conference champions two years in a row and NBA champions (last season), so that’s the team for us to be aiming for. We also have a lot of other teams that we have to play catchup to.”
Bogans, Stackhouse Out; Childress In
Keith Bogans will sit tonight with a sore right knee, while Jerry Stackhouse will also sit as he continues to make his way back from a sore right knee and a sore right hamstring.
Stackhouse, who is entering his 18th NBA season, practiced on Monday for the first time in 11 days.
Additionally, after being a game time decision, reserve swingman Josh Childress (left ankle sprain) will play this evening.
Camby, Smith, Wallace to sit
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said on Tuesday at practice that Marcus Camby (strained left calf), J.R. Smith (Achilles) and Rasheed Wallace (c0nditioning) will all sit tonight.
Camby has been out since Oct. 6 as his availability for Nov. 1 is in question, Smith has missed the last three preseason games and Wallace has yet to even participate in a full practice.
Woodson’s hope is that all three players can participate in team scrimmages, which are slated to begin at practice on Friday.
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.