On Saturday night, the Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors by a final score of 107-100.
The Skinny: The chemistry between Deron Williams and Joe Johnson was slightly off early, but Brook Lopez picked up the slack, scoring eight straight points after Williams scored the first points in Brooklyn Nets history. But the Raptors, mainly Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, shot well from three-point range to help give Toronto an eight-point lead to close out the first quarter. The Nets reserves, led by C.J. Watson, orchestrated a 15-3 run to start the second quarter. Brooklyn outscored Toronto 33-17 in the second, giving the Nets an eight-point lead at the half. Brooklyn led by as many as 14 midway through the third quarter, but the Raptors cut the deficit to six heading into the fourth. Toronto got to within one and kept the game close in the waning minutes, but the Nets made their free throws down the stretch to ice the game. Gerald Wallace was taken to locker room with a left ankle sprain after a hard collision with Lowry in the final minute. The X-rays were negative, and he’s listed as day-to-day.
High Scorers: Lowry led all scorers with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Lopez led the Nets with 27 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field and hit 11 of his 15 free-throw attempts.
Key Stats: Brooklyn scored 50 points in the paint. The team ranked 30th in the league last season with 33.6 points in the paint per game. The Nets also scored 60 points in the first half, something the team did not do at all last season.
Who Was Hot: Watson paced the Nets’ bench with 15 points in 27:42. Williams poured in 19 points and added nine assists. Reggie Evans pulled down 13 rebounds in 15:41. For Toronto, DeRozan shot 8-of-13 from the field for 25 points.
Who Was Not: In his Nets debut, Joe Johnson was cold from the outside, shooting just 5-of-14 from field for 14 points. Raptors’ center Jonas Valanciunas scored just two points in 12:13 after dealing with foul trouble early.
Fun Fact: With the win, the Nets have now won three consecutive season openers (defeated Washington in 2011 and Detroit in 2010). Also, the victory evens the all-time series between the Nets and the Raptors at 33-33.
Jim MancariOn the night after the New York Knicks had a statement victory in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Nets followed suit in their opener at the Barclays Center, though it was a little too close for comfort at the end.
Not only did the game represent a return to normalcy after the storm, but it was also the first professional sports contest in the borough since the Brooklyn Dodgers played their final game at Ebbets Field on Sept. 24, 1957.
The Nets’ bench played with great energy offensively and defensively all game, but the first unit still needs to get its act together defensively. Avery Johnson said that he wants his team to be in the top-10 in the NBA defensively, so the team will continue working on its rotations to achieve that goal.
Brooklyn (1-0) will remain home for a Monday night game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who will be without All-Star power forward Kevin Love (broken right hand). The 7:30 p.m. game will be televised on NBA TV and the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.