Just a few months after he retired, Jason Kidd will get his New Jersey Nets jersey retired by the Brooklyn Nets Thursday night prior to a big preseason game against the defending champion Miami Heat. The new coach of the Nets wanted to get this ceremony out of the way in the preseason so that it wouldn’t distract him or the rest of his team in a regular season game and this is definitely the right game for this to happen. It starts at 8 pm and will be televised nationally on TNT. It is easily the most highly anticipated preseason game in Nets history.
Brooklyn should have its regular starting lineup minus Deron Williams tonight and this may be the game where the starters will see the most minutes. The game should be a good benchmark to see how much the Nets have improved over the preseason and how ready they are for the start of the regular season. Of course, Brooklyn’s first home game of the year is against Miami, so this will give each team a sneak peak at one another. The two teams also meet up next week in Miami in the last preseason game.
It is no secret that these two teams do not like each other. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have been Lebron James’s biggest rival since 2007. Ray Allen ditching the Celtics and going to Miami prior to last season only added to that rivalry. Dwyane Wade has said that the rivalry will transfer nicely from Boston to Brooklyn.
Both teams have some injury issues right now that will keep a couple of key players out of the game. Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jason Terry are all doubtful for the Nets. For Miami, Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley and Dwyane Wade may or may not play. New addition Greg Oden is out and there is no timetable for his return.
Even though this is only a preseason game, it could be a preview of the eastern conference finals in May and this is definitely a game that the Nets want to win.