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Nets making most of home cooking

Rally Past Phoenix for Fourth Straight Victory at Barclays Center

December 2, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brook Lopez hopes a few more victories like the one the Nets pulled out against the Suns Tuesday night will bring sellout crowds back to Downtown’s Barclays Center. AP photo

The Brooklyn Nets, who averaged approximately 17,000 fans per game at Downtown’s Barclays Center during their first three seasons in our fair borough, are hoping their recent turnaround on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues brings larger crowds to their home games.

Larger, at least, than the 12,787 that came to take in Tuesday night’s come-from-behind 94-91 triumph over the Phoenix Suns, which marked the fourth time in seven home games that the Nets have failed to draw at least 13,000 to their state-of-the-art arena.

“I think, hopefully, we’ll see the environment continue to grow and turn in our favor if we continue to be successful on our home court,” said Brook Lopez after pouring in 23 points and grabbing six rebounds during Brooklyn’s fourth consecutive home victory following an 0-3 start at Barclays.

“Because it’s going to be a huge advantage for us down the stretch,” he added.

The Nets (5-13) began the campaign by playing 13 of their first 17 games on the road, resulting in a dismal start that they are still trying to offset.

Home cooking might be just the solution for Brooklyn’s brutal opening as it will play an NBA-high 20 games here during December and January.

“We started off I think every single weekend on the road somewhere,” guard Shane Larkin told the Associated Press after spearheading the Nets’ reserves with 11 points and eight assists against the Suns.

“[We need to] win a bunch of those [home] games, just keep playing hard, take it one game at a time and just see what we can do,” Larkin added as Brooklyn won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Their only “road” game for the next couple of weeks will be Friday night’s showdown with the East River rival Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

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After visiting Brooklyn-born Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks, the Nets will host the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets, the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat before playing their first game outside of the five boroughs in over three weeks when they visit Indiana on Dec. 18.

The Nets appeared to be headed for another defeat Tuesday before erasing a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit and holding off the Suns’ last bid to force overtime on Jarrett Jack’s third steal of the night just prior to the final buzzer.

“We just started to put some things together,” Jack noted after finishing with 11 points and eight assists.

Wayne Ellington added 11 points off the bench, Joe Johnson had nine points and Thaddeus Young contributed eight for the Nets, who came within a basket of holding their third straight opponent to fewer than 90 points.

“[It was an] intense game, down to the wire,” said Brooklyn head coach Lionel Hollins. “I thought our guys played very well down the stretch. We’re trusting each other more and more as we go forward.”

“We stuck it out together and kept believing in our system,” added Lopez.

Nothing But Net: Local boxers Daniel Jacobs and Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, who will be vying for the middleweight title in the main event Saturday night at Barclays Center, announced the Nets’ starting lineups Tuesday. … Former Net Mirza Teletovic, who signed as a free agent with Phoenix this past offseason, scored 12 points against Brooklyn Tuesday. … Backup C Andrea Bargnani, who has a history of injury problems, sat out Tuesday’s game after hurting his left hamstring in Sunday’s 87-83 home win over Detroit. Hollins was not sure when Bargnani would be back in the lineup. … Undefeated boxing great Floyd Mayweather was also courtside on Tuesday at Barclays Center. … The Islanders currently rank second-to-last in the NHL in home attendance during their first season at Barclays Center, bringing in an average of just under 13,000 per game, according to ESPN.com.

 

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