Following a delayed start to their season, the Brooklyn Nets are trying to give the fans at their new home arena and their beleaguered region something to cheer about.
After prevailing in their Brooklyn debut, the Nets will try to keep that positivity going by knocking off the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night at the Barclays Center.
In the first home game in Brooklyn for any major professional sports team in 55 years, the Nets thrilled a raucous, sold-out crowd by holding off Toronto for a 107-100 victory Saturday. Major League Baseball's Dodgers were the last team to call the borough home before leaving for Los Angeles in 1957.
"This was such a huge night," coach Avery Johnson said. "I was so thrilled to be a part of it. This night meant a whole lot to a lot of people."
"I know that these fans want the best for this team. All they want from us is to work hard and give them a show," said Johnson, who came over from Atlanta in a seven-player deal in July.
The Nets (1-0) were originally scheduled to play their Brooklyn opener Thursday against the Knicks, but the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy caused that game to be postponed.
While trying to provide a much-needed distraction from the problems in the New York area, the Nets will seek to get past a team that's given them trouble in recent matchups. They've lost five of six against Minnesota, including a 108-105 defeat in last season's only meeting Feb. 3 in New Jersey.
Nikola Pekovic had 27 points and 11 rebounds in that win, and the depleted Timberwolves might need his help again.
With Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio both sidelined recovering from injuries, Minnesota has gotten off to an uneven start, beating Sacramento 92-80 in Friday's season opener before falling 105-86 in Toronto on Sunday.
The Timberwolves (1-1) didn't help their cause with 24 turnovers against the Raptors, and they were outscored 26-13 in the fourth quarter while making 4 of 16 shots. Only two Minnesota players scored in double figures - Andrei Kirilenko with 17 points and Pekovic with 15.
"It's too many turnovers," Kirilenko said. "You can't win the game when every guy loses three or four balls. We have to work on this. It wasn't really forced turnovers, we just threw them away."
The status of Minnesota guard J.J. Barea, who had a team-leading 21 points in the win over Sacramento, is unclear for this game. Barea was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms Sunday after being accidentally kicked in the head.
"I'll probably play," Barea said. "It all depends on the trainers. I've got to take another test (Monday) to make sure.
"My face hurts, I've got a couple of cuts in the mouth but other than that I'm all right."
Lopez missed last season's matchup with Minnesota after totaling 30 points and 12 rebounds in a 107-105 home victory over the Timberwolves on April 5, 2011. Williams hit the go-ahead shot with two seconds left in that win, finishing with 18 points and a career high-tying 21 assists.