Avery’s Nets Aim To Stay Perfect At Home
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NEWARK (AP) — The New Jersey Nets were the worst home team in the NBA last season. The Sacramento Kings were near the bottom in road wins.
One of the teams will take another step toward changing that this season when they meet Friday night.
After opening with an NBA-record 18 consecutive losses last season, including seven at the Izod Center, New Jersey outscored Detroit 13-3 in the final 1:40 on Wednesday for a 101-98 season-opening victory in its first game at the Prudential Center.
The Nets were 8-33 at home last season when they finished a franchise-worst 12-70.
“We’re moving forward,” point guard Devin Harris said after totaling 22 points and nine assists in Avery Johnson’s debut as Nets coach.
“I don’t like references to last year. It’s forgotten about. This is about this team showing what we can do when we do things right.”
New Jersey, which didn’t post its second home win last season until Dec. 30, will face a Kings team trying to prove it can win on the road after going 7-34 away from Arco Arena in 2009-10. Only the Nets and Minnesota had worse road records.
Looking to avoid losing its first road game for an eighth consecutive season, Sacramento opened with a 117-116 win at Minnesota on Wednesday. Carl Landry had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Francisco Garcia also scored 22 and Beno Udrih added 18 with six assists.
“It was a great season-opening game,” said Udrih, who averaged 20.0 points against the Nets in 2009-10. “The last two years, we’ve been 0-3, 0-4 and we’ve been basically chasing that .500. This year we start with a win and hopefully we can get a couple more on this (three-game) road trip.”
With a chance to open 2-0 on the road for the first time since 2001-02, the Kings will likely have reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans back in the starting lineup. Evans, the fourth first-year player to average at least 20 points (20.1), five rebounds (5.3) and five assists (5.8), served a one-game suspension for pleading no contest to a reckless driving arrest over the summer.
His 21 points helped Sacramento beat the Nets 109-96 on Nov. 27, but an injured Evans missed last season’s meeting in New Jersey on March 24 and the Kings lost 93-79.
The Nets snapped a franchise-record, 14-game home losing streak with that victory as Brook Lopez had 26 points, 13 boards and four blocks. Now Lopez gets his first matchup with rookie center DeMarcus Cousins, who had 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists in his NBA debut Wednesday.
Nets rookie Derrick Favors – selected two picks ahead of Cousins at No. 3 – also had a solid first game with eight points and 10 boards in 20 minutes off the bench.
While newcomer Anthony Morrow (13 points) appears to work well with Harris in the Nets’ starting backcourt, the team’s bench – which averaged an Eastern Conference-low 26.6 points last season – could be much improved with the addition Jordan Farmar.
In 22 minutes Wednesday, the former Los Angeles Lakers guard hit two 3-pointers and had 10 points with four assists.
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