Last night, the New Jersey Nets finished out their Garden State era with a 105-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly led the entire time; the Nets came within a 1 point of the Sixers in the third quarter, but then the 76ers went on a run.
According to our Nets fan on the scene, the scene was depressing in many other ways at the Prudential Center in Newark. While it's a beautiful facility, it's very clearly the home of the NJ Devils—there wasn't much NJ Nets presence at The Rock at all (fact: Nets memorabilia was being sold at The Devils Den). Also weird: The fact that former Net Chris Morris was at the halftime ceremony—Morris famously wrote "Please" on one sneaker and "trade me" on the other. And the two best Nets players—Jason Kidd and Vince Carter—weren't there in person (they sent videos) because they are still playing basketball for their teams.
The talk of the Nets moving to Brooklyn has been going on for practically a decade, and in 2010, the Nets announced their temporary move to The Rock, waiting out construction of the Barclays Center. NJ Governor Chris Christie was his typical gracious self when discussing the final game in Jersey: "I'm not going to the Nets game tonight, and my message to them is 'Goodbye!' You don't want to stay, we don't want you. I mean, seriously, I'm not going to be in the business of begging people to stay here. That's one of the most beautiful arenas in America they have a chance to play in, it's in one of the country's most vibrant cities, and they want to leave here and go to Brooklyn? Good riddance, see you later."
Star-Ledger columnist Dave D'Allessandro wrote:
For the first time, the Nets are attempting to join that rat race in earnest. We wish them bon voyage and Godspeed and all that rot. They should do well. Mikhail Prokhorov personally thinks they will be valued at $5 billion in five years’ time, and since that’s the only measure of success he seems to know, we hope he achieves this goal that is so essential to the public welfare
The team itself could be great, or it could be horrid. Much of that depends on whether the point guard stays home, because Deron Williams is a player of extraordinary gifts: He can run and jump like an antelope, he plays hard, he cares about winning. But he’s also an incurable mope, with the personality of a nightclub bouncer, and if that’s the kind of guy you want to root for, help yourself.
Well, at least Darryl Dawkins cheered things up with his suit:
Darryl Dawkins in a pink striped suit at last night's Nets celebration. I love that man: twitter.com/si_vault/statu…
— Andy Gray (@si_vault) April 24, 2012