PHILADELPHIA — Brook Lopez scored 19 points and the Brooklyn Nets made their debut with a 108-105 overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.
The Nets had closed the book on New Jersey after spending 35 years in Piscataway, East Rutherford and the team's last home at the Prudential Center in Newark. Turns out, the franchise had one more game left in their old home state.
Only these Nets wore black uniforms with white stripes down the sides and "Brooklyn" emblazoned on the front.
Oh, they also had Joe Johnson and Deron Williams in the backcourt, a duo the Nets could have used in New Jersey. Johnson, acquired from Atlanta in the offseason, scored 13 points in his debut. Williams had 14 points.
Evan Turner had 14 points for the Sixers. Andrew Bynum, who is sitting out the preseason to rest his achy knees, watched his team lose from the end of the bench.
The Nets make their Brooklyn debut in the $1 billion state-of-the-art Barclays Center on Monday against Washington. The true Brooklyn debut is the regular-season opener Nov. 1 against New York.
The Barclays Center will be rocking that night, with some A-list celebrities and a pregame spectacle sure to highlight the return of major pro sports to the borough. Saturday was a Sixers home game and there were only a smattering of cheers for the Nets and a few "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" T-shirts.
Brooklyn hasn't had major professional sports since the Dodgers left town in 1957.
The Nets have raised expectations following a 22-44 record in the lockout-shortened season. Along with Johnson, the Nets added veterans Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Childress, Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson, Reggie Evans and European free agent Mirza Teletovic.
"We're ready," coach Avery Johnson said before the game.
At 6:45 p.m., the public address announcer said for the first time, "Now taking the court, the Brooklyn Nets." Kris Humphries dunked for the first basket in a Brooklyn uniform.
The Nets came out strong against a Sixers team that underwent their own offseason makeover. Gone are veterans Elton Brand, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala. In are Bynum, Kwame Brown, Nick Young, Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright, Maalik Wayns and Arnett Moultrie. Coach Doug Collins gave Richardson and Wright the night off because of a loaded preseason schedule where they'll play five more times by Oct. 22.
Young scored 21 points and Wayns scored 18 points.
The Sixers brought a nearly 7,000 fans at Boardwalk Hall to life after they sliced a 13-point hole to only 95-93 with 1:16 left.
Damien Wilkins tied the game for the Sixers with two free throws with 45 seconds left. C.J Watson of the Nets missed a runner as time expired in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Watson, who scored 19 points, atoned in overtime with a pair of free throws that gave the Nets a 108-105 lead.
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