Sean Marks expects Barclays Center to be rocking Saturday night.
The Knicks announced they will have 15,000 fans for their playoff opener against the Hawks on Sunday, and the Nets will be welcoming a significant increase in fans as well, the team’s general manager told ESPN New York Radio on Friday.
Marks said the Nets will have more than 13,000 fans in the 17,732-seat building when they open the playoffs against the Celtics, and they have sold out the tickets made available.
“We’ve really missed that throughout the pandemic in this crazy season,” Marks said. “We’ve had to pivot here and there and everywhere. I know the borough and fan base are looking forward to seeing this team live and in person on the court. To hear the energy Barclays will have is going to be exciting. That’s probably when it will really hit me that we’re coming out of this, we’re hopefully on the other end, and we’re going to need the support.”
More seats were made available to fans who are vaccinated. Since Feb. 23, Barclays Center had been filled at 10 percent capacity during the regular season. That will change on Saturday.
Looking back now, the trade for James Harden was a no-brainer. He became the Nets’ MVP. With Harden in the lineup, they went 29-7. But for Marks, the move wasn’t easy. He didn’t like the idea of sending away two young players, Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert, in the blockbuster deal Jan. 13 with the Rockets and Pacers.
“But at the end of the day, then you look at it and say, ‘Well, where else are we going to get an opportunity to add a player of James’ caliber to this team during this window?’ ” Marks said. “I mean, we know what this is all about. Pro sports is seizing the moment, seizing your opportunity. It doesn’t come without risk. But with some risk, hopefully there’s a reward at the end of this.
“What we have seen from James has been incredible, not only on the court, but what he’s brought to the team off the court as well.”
Marks doesn’t believe the lack of on-court time together for Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will be much of a factor. The superstar trio only played eight games alongside one another.
“I’m not sure it will be an issue. I don’t think so,” Marks said. “Those guys have been around each other so much this year, not necessarily on the court, which we would have loved to see. … That’s just not the case this year. I don’t want to make any excuses, I know they aren’t going to make any excuses.”
** Boston coach Brad Stevens has said as a fan its tough to imagine the Nets losing. The usually proud Celtics are taking on an underdog role.
“We know the odds are against us, we know what we’re up against. This isn’t our first time being up against a Goliath,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “We just got to come out there and play; all the cards on the table, no holding back. At this point we have nothing to lose, so go out there and just have fun and do it.”
Nets director of player personnel JR Holden told Gazzetta, “We love Mike James in Brooklyn and hopefully he will be here for a few more years.”
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