Nets win round one
MARCUS HENRY Special to the AmNews | 12/3/2012, 1:51 p.m.
How do you tell a team to forget about what some may consider the most important win in recent franchise history? It's a point that Nets coach Avery Johnson needs to drill into the head of each and every player on the roster. One win in late November, even against a crosstown rival, doesn't mean much in an 82-game NBA season.
The Nets' 96-89 overtime win over the Knicks at the Barclays Center on Monday was historic to many in the tristate area. It happened in a new arena under new ownership with a revamped roster stacked with all-star talent. Although the win was worthy of celebration, a true contender can't take time to dwell on it, no matter how grand the stage.
"I'm happy for them, they deserve the win, they played against an outstanding team ... but there are no parades. There are no trophies right now," said Johnson, whose team played in front of a national audience on TNT. "It's still early, but at the same time, this is a step in the right direction."
The Nets were in Boston last night (Wednesday) for the start of a three-game, four-day road trip. Following the Celtics are games in Orlando tomorrow and in Miami on Saturday. Playing games against two of the league's top teams in four nights makes it imperative to forget an exciting win in front of a sellout crowd of 17,732, which included celebrities like Richard Gere, Billy Crystal, Ron Darling, Michael Strahan, Jay-Z and Beyonce. Even Nets players were quick to talk about last night's matchup with Boston in the moments following Monday's win.
"As soon as we leave this arena and wake up the next day, the focus is all on green," said Nets forward Reggie Evans.
Nets guard Joe Johnson, a 12-year veteran, was in agreement with Evans. "Us in this locker room, we just look at it as another game," he said. "We understand the hype that surrounded the game, but in the end, it's just another team we are trying to beat."
The aforementioned statements don't mean the game wasn't important. Evans and Johnson were just accentuating the cold, hard reality of professional sports: Play the game and move on.