Nets Fan and The Brooklyn Game user Vincent Romero went to the first game last night. Here's his experience.
I was at the game last night.
First and foremost, I have been to many games at the Izod Center including the finals games during the Jason Kidd era against the Lakers and Spurs. The buzz in the Barclays Center was so much better than any of the those games and it was against the Toronto Raptors! Which makes me wonder how better the buzz was if they did start the season against the Knicks.
Got into the Barclays Center as it opened the doors through the main entrance in the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush. Though clearly observing as I walked around those who want to avoid lines at the entrance should use the Dean Street and Atlantic entrances on the sides, people got in easily without much hassle.
Food options are so much better than MSG and with local vendors, the Barclays Center people seem very observant that Brooklyn is a big foodie neighborhood especially the Park Slope/Fort Greene/Prospect Heights neighborhood surrounding the arena though the lines are bad and hard to navigate through the arena during the game because of the concessions lines. That Famiglia Pizza/Ranch 1 crap is not going to work here in Brooklyn!
All the seats are padded and it's easy to get too though the Barclays Center in the corridors do not highlight any Nets franchise history like Dr. J, Michael Ray Richardson's interventions, Kenny Anderson and Derrick Coleman's rookie contracts, Keith Van Horn's rap albums, etc. Not even an Aaron Williams Fro-Yo stand! They still have the franchise's ABA titles and the conference and division titles banners with the retired jerseys though the lack of the retired #30 Kerry Kittles jersey disturbed me. The Arena looks bigger from the inside than it does on the outside.
As time ticked toward game time, the girl singing the National Anthem was terrible. The Brooklyn Team Song is great. The Video Team Introduction Package of the Nets players entering the Barclays Center in black and white was swagtastic! The Brooklyn Knight Mascot is the worst mascot in the NBA since Bulls Dynasty 12th Man Jack Haley. They had David Stern speak to the crowd and as expected, BOOOOOOOO! They had a poignant yet awkward ceremony with remaining members from the 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers team where they traded jerseys, soccer style. Deron Williams spoke to the crowd and is a much better public speaker than 76ers Spencer Hawes and Carmelo Anthony. The Brooklyn Borough President rambled gibberish and finally tip-off. Deron Williams nails a long 2 which the crowd goes nuts from the wing!
The fans were very into the game at least in terms of my section, 213 on the upper corner. Very observant and smart which is something sadly I can't say about any of my experiences at MSG where many of the fans understood Wok & Roll more than the Pick n' Roll. Though we all agree "Isiah sucks!". Everyone was mindful, the Nets are going to be a bad to mediocre defensive team.
Brook Lopez live looks so awkward in terms of his moves on the post but they are so effective though you need to time him with a sundial in terms of him catching up on a Raptors pick and roll. Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and CJ Watson are going to be fan favorites. Gerald Wallace was everywhere though the long jumpers were painful and Reggie Evans got 13 boards off the bench, he was gobbling them like Pac-Man getting the power pellets.
The crowd really started to get into it when the Nets bench came with Joe Johnson on the floor to start the 2nd half and when I thought Brook Lopez was awkward, 'Dray Blatche makes him look like Gregory Hines. That 2nd unit of Watson, Brooks, Evans and Blatche with either Williams or Johnson with them look and play like a Brooklyn Streetball unit.
Then the "Broooooooooooklyn" chants came out and it was great and even better knowing I can annoy my friends with it. CJ Watson pops a 3 at the buzzer and the crowd goes nuts.
Early 3rd Quarter, you couldn't help but be excited by the potential when the Brooklyn starting 5 took control of the game. Deron was making clean passes to cutters, Brook Lopez and his chinese menu of post moves to get to the whole, Wallace's hustle, Iso Joe's Isolation sets, and even Kris Humphries somewhat effective defense but then they hit a funk in the 4th Quarter were they kept turning the ball over and reverting to the early game's defense allowing Raptors to cut them up with pick and rolls.
The crowd if as energetic as the first game is going to be huge advantage for the Brooklyn Nets at home. Even though they blew a 13-point lead, the crowd really didn't boo and as crunch time hit, they got excited and pumped up the value. This could be the first time, the Nets really had a crowd that into a game.
The Nets didn't really take control of the game until the near end some MarShon Brooks was nailing these Jamal Crawfordian bad jumpers and Joe Johnson/Deron Williams cool the game with the Free Throws.
I would have thought there would have been pyro or a bigger celebration once the clock hit 0.00 with the Nets winning 107-100 but there wasn't which shocked me. Getting out of the arena was pretty easy with a lot of ways to get out.
As I walked to the subway to my home, you couldn't help but hear the annoying loudspeaker from the Modells across the street trying to get fans to buy merch after the game. The Modells was packed which reminded me of after Yankees games where fans and tourists would hit the merchandise stores outside the stadium after the game.
Overall, Barclays Center was a great experience. I think Brooklyn Nets Management really did a great job understanding Brooklyn and reflecting it in the fan experience including the concessions, dancers, kids group, and the entrance video vignetter/theme music though they need tweaks including please ditch the Brooklyn Knight which looked designed by a blind Marvel intern.
One last observation: Jay-Z and Beyonce Jumbotron shots were about 5-6 and Beyonce looked like she wanted to go to sleep.