In recent weeks at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush a transformation has taken place. The scaffolding came down, replaced by freshly poured sidewalks and a new entrance to the re-branded Atlantic Av-Barclays Center subway stop. Crowds flocked to the new Barclays Center to see Jay Z perform. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with photos and descriptions of the new building. A lightning rod for controversy, the arena's opening also attracted protestors from such groups as Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Brookyn Speaks and Occupy Wall Street.
As the hoopla around the arena's opening subsides and the surrounding communities adjust to its presence, fans will be able to focus on the main reason that “the Barc” was built: basketball. With the Nets season opener less than a month away, let's take a look at the five biggest games (and toughest tickets) at the Barclays Center this season.
New York Knicks – 11/1/12
Opening night in a beautiful, brand-new arena in the biggest city in the world against a crosstown rival that just happens to be one of the NBA's most popular franchises. This is one of the most highly anticipated basketball games in the history of New York City. The whole town will be watching.
Oklahoma City Thunder – 12/4/12
This match up with the defending Western Conference Champs will be a major test for the Nets early in their first season in Brooklyn. A win here shows the Nets can compete with the league's elite. Fans will jam the Barclays Center to see OKC's Big Three: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Boston Celtics - 12/25/12
To play on Christmas Day games is an honor reserved for the NBA's top teams as households around the country tune in on the national holiday. This year, the Nets get the nod and host Boston, perennial Eastern Conference powers and one of the league's most storied franchises.
Miami Heat – 1/30/13
No matter where the Heat play, you can count on a capacity crowd packing the building to watch megastar, LeBron James. Fresh off his first NBA title, LeBron may be feeling less pressure but expect the spotlight to shine especially bright this night for Miami's first and only visit to Brooklyn this season.
Los Angeles Lakers – 2/5/13
Dwight Howard was atop the Nets' wish list for years. Despite a relentless pursuit from the Nets front office, Howard ultimately landed with the Lakers. Expect the crowd to be fired up as fans let Howard know their feelings about the trade.