Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Already out of New Jersey, Nets end their season out of sight - The Star-Ledger -

Avery Johnson.JPG Avery Johnson and the Nets end their 2012 campaign in Toronto Thursday.

The Nets’ time in New Jersey is over. Their season is not.

The New Jersey Nets will play one last game â€" an encore performance, if you will â€" Thursday in Toronto against the Raptors. The game will be televised on the YES Network at 7 p.m.

If it seems as if the Nets’ season ended Monday with the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at Prudential Center, well, for all intents and purposes, it did. Less than two hours after that game, the Nets’ team website had a plain black home page with the outline of a shield and the words #HELLOBROOKLYN.

By Tuesday morning, all the Nets’ banners â€" the ABA title banners, the NBA Eastern Conference champion banners and all the retired jerseys â€" were gone from the ceiling of the Prudential Center before the Devils took the ice for their morning skate.

It would have been nice if the NBA had scheduled the Nets’ last game of the season at home, but instead, the Nets flew to Toronto Wednesday night.

They will shoot around this morning and play their final game of the 2011-12 season Thursday â€" in a foreign country, no less â€" then fly home, do their breakup day tomorrow and then it’s off to Brooklyn.

They officially become the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, when they unveil their new colors and logo.

Point guard Deron Williams, who will be a free agent this summer and whose re-signing is priority No. 1 for Nets GM Billy King, has missed the past four games with a strained right calf and odds are he won’t play tonight, either.

Forward/center Shelden Williams has missed three in a row and there’s no point in him suiting up, either.

So the New Jersey Nets, who have lost five in a row, will likely play their final game with the same lineup that got thumped the last three games â€" 10 players in uniform, unless someone else was injured over the past two days.

The only thing on the line will be positioning for the draft lottery, as the Nets and Raptors hold records of 22-43, tied for sixth worst in the league. Each place closer to the bottom gives a team a greater chance of winning the lottery and the rights to draft Kentucky center Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick overall.

The Nets would love to win the lottery, or at least end up drafting in the top three picks, because they traded their first-round pick this year â€" protected through the first three selections â€" as part of a deadline day package to acquire Gerald Wallace from Portland.

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