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Nets top Wizards in Brooklyn debut

10/15/2012 10:29 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Brook Lopez notches 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Nets' first game at the Barclays Center.(AP)

Thanks in large part to a huge night from their frontcourt, the Nets made their Brooklyn debut a successful one, topping the Washington Wizards, 98-88, in the first preseason game played at the Barclays Center.

The first victory in Brooklyn was truly a team effort, as the Nets (2-0) recorded 22 assists on 39 made field goals, but it was the big men who made those assists count the most. Center Brook Lopez led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while power forward Kris Humphries added 11 points and five boards and reserve Andray Blatche notched 16 and 8 against the team that let him go this past summer.

The much-ballyhooed Brooklyn backcourt also had a good night, as Deron Williams had 11 points and a team-high nine assists, while newcomer Joe Johnson added 14 points, five dimes, and three boards.

Overall, the team shot 50 percent (39-for-78) from the field with five players in double figures, and that team effort is something Nets fans can expect from the Brooklyn ballers all year, according to Lopez.

“I think we really click together and play well together. That comes from us being here early, at D-Will’s request, three weeks before training camp started,” Lopez told new Nets reporter Sarah Kustok after the game. “We got to learn together and know each other, and that’s helped tremendously.”

Brooklyn led 50-48 at the half, and assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo told Kustok that he thought the team looked “nervous” in its NYC debut. However, the Nets squashed that notion quickly after the break, going on an 8-0 run in the first three minutes of the third quarter to build their lead to double digits. Washington fought back and trailed by just five heading into the final quarter, but the Nets would not be denied.

The win – and big effort – was especially satisfying for Lopez, who was limited to just five games last season due to foot and ankle injuries and wasn’t sure he would be brought back as a restricted free agent.

“It was absolutely fantastic (to make our Brooklyn debut); I couldn’t help but smile a lot, the fans brought so much energy and they made it fun for us to be out there playing,” Lopez said. “I’m just trying to come out with a lot of energy; the other four guys out there with me starting, and the guys we have on the bench, make my job easy, so I just try to come out and play hard and have fun.”

Martell Webster had 18 points and rookie Bradley Beal scored 13 to pace the Wizards (1-3), who were once again without injured stars John Wall and Nene.

The Nets won’t have very long to savor their inaugural Brooklyn victory, as they will immediately hit the road to take on the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night in Beantown. That game will be the second of four in five nights for the Nets, who have Wednesday off before returning home to face the Celtics on Thursday and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday in a game that will be broadcast live on YES.

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