With the Brooklyn Nets putting the finishing touches on a 103-80 blowout over their cross-bridge rival New York Knicks, some Knicks fans took to booing or feeble "Fire Woodson!" chants. But the loudest chant of the night was Brooklyn's famous "Brooook-lynnnn" chant, which was loudest at this point in the fourth quarter but occurred throughout.

This isn't the first time that The Brooklyn Chant has entered Madison Square Garden's airwaves, but it was the most prominent one in the two-year rivalry. Or, as Nets Stats put it:

 

The Brooklyn Nets released an updated video for "Something to Lean On," the team's official song written by Brooklyn resident John Forte, complete with more shots of Forte, people in Brooklyn, team highlights, and an awkwardly dated shot of now-former coach P.J. Carlesimo speaking to the team in the locker room.

(h/t Atlantic Yards Report)

 

Deron Williams, Jimmy Butler

Game 7. (AP)

No one said it better than John Schuhmann: tonight's Game 7 is a "referendum" on all things Brooklyn and all things Nets. In their first playoff series in the borough, the Nets have a chance to win a Game 7 at home for the first time in Brooklyn history -- and that includes the Dodgers.

In honor of Game 7, here's seven things I'm keeping a close eye on heading into tonight.

The franchise

Deron Williams signed with the Brooklyn Nets in July knowing that this was coming: perhaps not a Game 6, but an opportunity to lead the Brooklyn Nets past the first round of the playoffs in their inaugural season in Brooklyn and for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Williams has had a sometimes-scintillating, sometimes-quiet first round: Williams has had two excellent games (1 and 4), three solid games (3, 5, 6), and one awful shooting night (1-9 in Game 2) in this series. He's had a game-defining dunk and disappeared for the better part of an entire half. Williams's performance in Game 7 could be a career-defining moment.

The two-man tandem

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche. (AP)

Andray Blatche and Brook Lopez played 13 minutes together in Game 6 after playing 16 minutes together in three games all series. It was their worst tandem performance of the series -- the team only shot 5-17 with the two on the floor -- but they still outscored the Bulls 24-21. In 49 minutes this series (or basically one full game), the Nets have outscored Chicago 115-74 when Blatche-Lopez share the floor, and have been outscored 509-488 when they don't. The Bulls will play shorthanded again tonight, and Joakim Noah has played 176 playoff minutes on one plantar-fasciitis-plagued foot. P.J. Carlesimo may not alter his starting lineup -- and in a game like this, I don't blame him -- but if there is any time for these two to get as many minutes as possible to pound a weakened Chicago frontline into submission, it's tonight.

The big man

Key to that two-man tandem is Brook Lopez, the team's steadiest contributor all season. He hasn't skipped a beat in the playoffs, scoring 20 points in each of his first five playoff games before a 17-point performance in Game 6. Offensively, Lopez hasn't done anything special or different in these six playoff games: he's finding open space in the paint, backing down Noah in the post (though Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo called curiously fewer post-ups for Lopez in Game 6), and supplementing easy points near the rim and put-backs with his 18-foot jumper. Lopez's defense has been surprising this series: while he's still struggled to defend pick-and-rolls, Lopez has keyed in more defending the paint, and the numbers reflect it: the Bulls shoot 48.2% in the paint with Lopez in the game, compared to 58.7% with him on the bench, and Lopez has had multiple blocks in five of six playoff games (including a seven-block explosion in Game 3).

One indictment of Lopez's defense: through six games, Joakim Noah leads the playoffs with 24 offensive rebounds on one foot. He's taken advantage of weak team defense to slip to the rim for easy points. He's without a doubt been limited -- he's shooting just 38% from the field in the playoffs -- but Noah's been a key cog in non-scoring offense for Chicago.

The Nets need Lopez to do what he's always done, plus just a bit more, to ensure sealing the deal tonight.

Continued...

Well, this is pretty cool

Posted on: March 26th, 2013 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Yup: a Nets chant, in TD Garden, while the Knicks are playing the Celtics.

Before the Nets moved to Brooklyn, one of their official slogans was "It's All New." It always rung hollow, because the team was awful and the overall mood was dominated by the simple fact that the franchise never cared about New Jersey. But now? It really is. And that's awesome.

Edit: an earlier version of this listed the game at Madison Square Garden. That was incorrect. My apologies for being an idiot. I am still excited about this.

 

Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, LeBron James, Miami Heat

Will 'Bron be laughing again? (AP/Wilfredo Lee)

After taking down the Orlando Magic in sloppy fashion, the Brooklyn Nets swing to South Beach tonight to take on the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat. The Nets, riding a five-game winning streak, will see that streak tested tonight- the Heat dismantled the Nets to the tune of 103-73 in their last meeting, and Brook Lopez will sit for the second straight game to rest his right foot.

Joining me to talk tonight's teams and matchup is Tom Haberstroh of ESPN's Heat Index, one of the smartest hoops writers around and someone who's covered this Miami Heat team since LeBron James joined it in 2010. I've asked Tom three questions on the Heat, and he's asked me three on the Brooklyn Nets.

Onward!

Tom Haberstroh on the Miami Heat

 
Devin: Brook Lopez is out for tonight's game. The Nets already had a minor chance at best at stealing this road game; would you say that chance is all but eliminated now?

Tom: Did you catch Thursday's game against the JV Spurs?... MORE →