The Nets relocated to the New York Knicks' backyard, and were looking to start the season by showing off their new home to the neighbors.
Superstorm Sandy put those plans on hold.
After waiting for over three weeks, the Nets finally get to host the Knicks on Monday night in what is now an early season matchup between the two top teams in the Atlantic Division.
The Nets' long-awaited move from New Jersey to Brooklyn came to fruition this season. However, a storm that ravaged the East Coast postponed the scheduled Nov. 1 regular-season opener against the Knicks (9-3) at Barclays Center.
Instead of debuting their new digs, the Nets will try to show division-leading New York it has reason to worry.
It's still very early, but Brooklyn is one game behind the Knicks, thanks in part to a 6-1 home record - the franchise's best start as host since winning 18 of the first 19 of 2002-03.
The Nets' home winning streak reached five games Sunday after beating Portland 98-85. They haven't put together a longer run there since reeling off seven straight bridging 2006-07 and 2007-08.
"There's going to be more energy," said forward Kris Humphries, who had 14 points, 10 rebounds and two steals Sunday. "Each play is going to be bigger. So I think it's tough because of the atmosphere but we have to come out and execute, not get caught up in the Nets-Knicks thing."
Carmelo Anthony, a native of Brooklyn, feels the Knicks should find motivation in the rivalry.
"If we don't get up for this game, then I don't know what games we'll get up for," Anthony said. "It's an inner-city game, New York vs. Brooklyn. To me, going back home, going back to my borough, playing my first game back there is a very special moment for myself."
Anthony is among the NBA leaders with 25.6 points per game, and he's averaging 28.8 over five games after scoring 29 in Sunday's 121-100 victory over Detroit. It was the Knicks' highest scoring performance so far this season, and came on the heels of consecutive road defeats.
"We just kind of had a lapse those two games, I would like to think, and (Sunday) was a lot better," coach Mike Woodson said.
New York is thriving from beyond the arc, converting 45.3 percent of its shots in four games after hitting 17 of 33 against the Pistons. Anthony is a major part of that success, making 15 of 27 3-pointers in that span.
The superstar forward is 9 for 19 on such shots while averaging 31.7 points over his last three road meetings with the Nets.
The Knicks are averaging 106.7 points while winning six of seven meetings with the Nets, including three in a row as the visitor.
Deron Williams, who had 15 points, 12 assists and a season-high three steals Sunday, will try to help Brooklyn end that skid by continuing his success against New York. The All-Star guard is averaging 22.8 points and 11.1 assists in his past nine meetings, including a 38-point effort in a 100-92 road win on Feb. 20.
A sore right calf sidelined him for a 104-95 home loss on April 18.
The Nets are hoping the move to Brooklyn can provide a home-court advantage that was rarely evident when they resided across the Hudson River.
"There's definitely going to be some Knicks fans in there, but I don't think it will be as bad as it was last year," Williams said.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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