Brooklyn’s executives had to be happy with the Nets’ opening night at the Barclays Center. Not only did they get the Wizards, one of the league’s worst teams, but they got them with people like John Wall and Nene out in street clothes. Washington has more injury problems than perhaps everyone outside of their neighbors from Baltimore (the Ravens), so it wasn’t surprising to see Brooklyn open up the new arena (at least basketball-wise) with a 98-88 win behind 18 points and 11 rebounds from Brook Lopez. Deron Williams chipped in 11 and nine dimes, and got into a scuffle in the fourth quarter with A.J. Price, causing him to absolutely roast the backup Wiz guard in the postgame press conference. And off the bench, Andray Blatche torched his old team with 16 points, eight rebounds and two or three off-the-dribble fadeaways that will be giving Washington’s coaches nightmares for the rest of the week … Going into last night, Bradley Beal was leading all rookies in preseason scoring, and he started off hot again, hitting his first three shots and beginning with nine quick points. But he still has some things to learn. At one point, Florida’s finest got out on the break and went in super soft on Kris Humphries. Hump ruthlessly LeBron‘d him from behind, snuffing the layup out to the arc. From that point on, Beal struggled, making just two more shots and finishing with 13 points in just under 30 minutes. For Wiz fans, we can say this: his jumper is so sweet, the net barely moves when he gets one to drop. The dude somehow struggled from deep in college. We doubt that becomes a trend in D.C. … We wrote about Emeka Okafor, one of the most forgotten NBA veterans who can still play a little bit, and last night he delivered a mixed bag in response. Yes, he had 12 and six in limited minutes, which included one drop step where he nearly sent the entire Nets’ frontline through the rim. But he’s also in a losing battle with his hairline. It’s time he concede the L. It feels like he took some hair off his head and put it on his chin … Philly smoked Boston by 32 in one of those preseason games that doesn’t resemble an actual NBA game at all. Kevin Garnett and Andrew Bynum both sat it out (and Philly fans, we hate to keep harking on this, but Bynum was scheduled for another injection in his injured right knee to help lubricate and cushion the joint). The Celtics were blown out (Philly went on a game-ending 45-19 run) and didn’t seem to mind. And perhaps most alarming, Spencer Hawes not only is rocking a seemingly Justin Bieber-inspired haircut, he also went off for 17 and eight in barely 17 minutes. We might see him do that one more time all year … In his own diary entry with ESPNBoston.com, new Celtic Jason Terry discussed Boston’s recent trip to Europe, and apparently, Boston is taking after Zach Galifianakis and developing their own “Wolfpack.” Almost every night during the preseason trip, the JET said the majority of the team sat around heated lamps in the hotel lobby telling stories and playing cards. No word on whether anyone tried to take this new brotherhood a step further with a special blood bond, but we wouldn’t put it past Darko. Doc Rivers has spent this preseason brainwashing the draft bust into no longer believing his name is Darko as a way to move beyond his past failures. Instead, he wants Milicic to refer to himself as “Celtic.” The best part is Darko is actually following along with this … And with all quiet on the “superstar who wants to bitch his way into a better situation” front right now, the only real movement you might see soon off the court comes in the form of contract extensions for the class of ’09. Too bad it’s looking like James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings and DeMar DeRozan won’t be getting them, according to David Aldridge. The one who has probably the best chance? Ty Lawson … Keep reading to hear which new Maverick finally came to play …
Glen Davis fried Cleveland’s frontline for 27 points, but it was Kyrie Irving who made the difference for the Cavs in their 114-111 W over Orlando. Before last night, Irving was shooting a dismal 24 percent from the floor during Cleveland’s preseason and had many (including us) talking about his potential for a sophomore slump now that everyone is ready to immediately hand Uncle Drew All-Star appearances and a future spot on Team USA. But once again, he showed it’s a great thing to go against Jameer Nelson when you’re trying to break out of a slump by blowing up for 22 points on only eight shots … After spending most of the Mavs’ first two preseason games sporting a prolonged Philip Rivers face (2-for-13 shooting, nine total points), O.J. Mayo also broke out in a big way, serving Houston with a 20-point, 4-assist night that was capped by a starring role in an epic 20-0 Dallas third quarter run. From there, the Rockets never threatened again, falling 123-104 even as Dirk Nowitzki again sat on the bench all night resting his troublesome right knee and eating apples … Because of a sprained ankle, Terrence Jones – who’s been arguably the Rockets’ best player so far – was held out of this one just before tip. But Dallas’ Jae Crowder had no problems repping for the rookies, throwing up 20 in less than 15 minutes. The 6-6 forward is on his way to continuing Marquette’s tradition of creating scrappy, under-appreciated players who end up making half of the league look like fools for not drafting them higher … If we told you Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 46 points and eight three-pointers, and the Warriors as a team shot 55 percent from deep and held Denver to under 40 percent from the floor, you’d expect an easy win for the Bay Area squad, right? Well, without much of an interior game, Golden State was rocked on the glass (52-41), giving up 17 offensive rebounds and 40 points in the paint as Denver continued their unbeaten preseason with a 104-98 win. Danilo Gallinari led the Nuggets with 18, and made one ridiculous over-the-backboard shot that would win H.O.R.S.E. nine times out of 10 … Also from last night’s preseason schedule: DeMarcus Cousins had 20, and Marcus Thornton put in 23 off the pine as Sacramento whooped Portland, 117-100 … And while we were busy debating whether people would love Russell Westbrook more if he switched places with Derrick Rose, Russy was getting calls from Michael Jordan congratulating him about the move to the Jordan Brand. The only problem? Westbrook didn’t know who it was and didn’t pick up … We’re out like Kyrie’s sophomore slump.
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