Brooklyn's 'Nickname Game' takes back-seat to thrilling double-OT victory over Heat

01/10/2014 11:25 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Alan "Double" Anderson defends LeBron "King James" James in Friday's Nets vs. Heat game.(AP)
D-Will and D. Wade were grounded Friday night, but the Birdman took off, the Cole Train rumbled, the Truth was told and the King held court. JJ and CB and S. Dot all got their initials on, Moneymase got his dollars for (almost) nothing (at least in terms of scoring), and there was even a sighting of Jesus -- Shuttlesworth, that is.

As the somewhat puzzling paragraph above hopefully illustrates, Friday's Nets vs. Heat game at Barclays Center was the NBA's first of a few this season to feature nicknames on the back of each player's jersey, with the league taking a page out of the defunct XFL playbook and all of the above nicknames (and then some) displayed across the cagers' backs.

"I'm excited, because I think it shows you the evolution of our game," Jason Terry said before the game. "Obviously it's a marketing tool, but it's fun for the fans and it's fun for the players."

While quite a few of the nicknames (including D-Will and D. Wade, and even Terry as the JET) were obvious choices based on given names, even those weren't necessarily chosen that simply.

"JET, I was born with it," says Jason Eugene Terry, "But it really didn't take off until I got to Dallas. Everywhere I went in the city, people called me the JET, and the fans kind of took off on it; now, universally, and worldwide, I am the JET."

Among the fans polled, it was truly Kevin Garnett that was "The Big Ticket" among the night's nicknames with Paul Pierce's "Truth" a close second, and Terry revealed that Double-P's affirmative nickname wasn't just on his jersey Friday night.

"He's got that tattooed on him, so it's always there," he said.

As for the rest of the crew? There may not have been any alternate monikers as bizarrely beautiful as XFL poster child Rod "He Hate Me" Smart's back in the day, but hopefully a few of the lesser-known ones will stick now that they've been exposed.

"People might not have known a lot of guys' nicknames (until tonight), but you've got Dray Live (Andray Blatche) and Joker (Reggie Evans), and those are unique and personable and fun," Terry laughed. "Hopefully the league will let us do it four or five times throughout the season, but (tonight) it made history."

With that history also came the game of course, and it was a bitter night for Rashard "Sweet Lew" Lewis and Miami; "Brooklyn," as in Brook Lopez, was out, but his namesakes held on for a 104-95 double-overtime victory, thanks in large part from the man Garnett called "Joe Jesus" after Monday's win.

"It don't matter to me, man, whatever these guys want to call me, it is what it is," Joe Johnson said in response to that. "I don't get into all those nicknames."

The "Truth" is, though, that Johnson was "Brooklyn's" "Big Ticket" on this night and it seemed to "B Easy" from the get-go; he showed his "Plums" early by scoring 22 of his 32 in the first quarter and his team showed theirs the rest of the way, with double-doubles from Garnett and Shaun Livingston and 23 points from Paul Pierce helping them hold on for the win after 58 grueling minutes.

Unfortunately, even with all the game Ray Allen got, that last sentence was a miracle even Mr. Shuttlesworth couldn't pull off.

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