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brooklyn nets

Tomorrow Night, the Brooklyn Nets Are Real

Brook Lopez #11 of the Brooklyn Nets takes the opening tip off against Emeka Okafor #50 of the Washington Wizards during the a preseason game at the Barclays Center on October 15, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. This was just an exhibition.

If you've been around downtown Brooklyn over the last couple of days, it's been that much more clear why there was no way the Brooklyn Nets could have hosted that opener against the New York Knicks last night. We met a friend for a drink last night at Black Sheep, a bar just down the street from Barclays, at 9 p.m., and the whole front concourse of the arena was still packed with people trying to get on buses. (We sort of imagined them finally getting on one after showing up earlier that morning.) It was a shitshow already; trying to play a basketball game — an opening basketball game — would have been a nightmare. And that's not even accounting for the question of, uh, how anyone was going to get there. So: They will try it again tomorrow night.

At 7:30 tomorrow night, the Brooklyn Nets will become a real, live, regular-season reality when they host their first game, against the Toronto Raptors. It doesn't quite have the pizzazz of the Knicks on national television, but it has the distinct advantage of taking place on a weekend when almost everyone will have power again. This one is a lot easier to go to as well; the tickets are decidedly cheaper than that Knicks game was going to be, roughly the same as the Caribbean Music Festival going on tonight.

And the Nets, as a team, will come together for the first time as well. The major concern for the Nets is the health of Deron Williams, who has bone spurs in his ankle. He'll likely have surgery on that ankle at the end of the season and says it's "manageable" now, and while those things are all fine and good, they're not exactly what you want to be hearing about the most important player on your team the day before a long, exhausting 82-game season begins.

But the real story is that they are here. Considering how long it took for the Brooklyn Nets to actually exist, it makes a certain amount of sense that they will be the last NBA team to begin their season. (It's possible they'll be in first place in the division when they tip off!) The long wait is almost over. We are still not 100 percent certain about who precisely makes up the Brooklyn Nets fan base — and just how consistent it will be this season — and the whole franchise, on and off the court, still has a ton of questions. Those questions are now about to be answered. Brooklyn Nets the Brand is about to become Brooklyn Nets the Team. Let's see how the transition goes.

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Photo: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images