The New Jersey Nets played their final game in the Garden State Monday before their move to Brooklyn and it went down about the only way that would be appropriate. Sure, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Nets, 105-87, to clinch a playoff spot but it was still the home team that took center stage.
Playing with just 10 healthy players, Avery Johnson's crew couldn't match the energy of the first true sold out crowd of the season. In what had to be an odd feeling for the Nets, the fans in the stands weren't there to cheer for the road team and tried to push New Jersey to one final victory.
Smelling the chance at the playoffs, however, the Sixers took the bull by the horns right from the first minutes. Philadelphia built a 15 point lead in the second quarter and took a 10 point lead into halftime. The Nets did their best to mount a comeback, fight all the way back to within one point late in the third quarter before the Sixers took back control.
Deron Williams missed his fourth straight game with a calf injury and may not play again this season for the Nets. Rookie MarShon Brooks had a game-high 18 points while Kris Humphries added another double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The stars of the evening were the Nets players of the past that the franchise honored throughout the game. There were video messages from familiar names of the past like Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Brian Scalabrine and Byron Scott along with a halftime ceremony to honor the 2001-02 NBA Finals squad. Kerry Kittles and Brian Todd MacCulloch presented the 2002 and 2003 Eastern Conference championship trophies to the crowd.
Now that their final game in New Jersey is behind them, the Nets have just one more game before officially moving the franchise to Brooklyn. That game will come Thursday night on the road against the Toronto Raptors.