Brooklyn's back in pro sports, and the Nets insisted on a triumphant return.
So coach Avery Johnson sent All-Star point guard Deron Williams back on the floor with about 31/2 minutes left to help the Nets close out a 98-88 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night in the first basketball game at the Barclays Center.
Most starters, certainly players of Williams' caliber, would be on the bench for good by that stage of a preseason game. But Johnson wanted the victory, even catching Williams off guard when he told the Olympian to go back in.
"I just thought it was important," Johnson said. "I thought it was nice that our fans would go home with a good feeling about our team."
Brook Lopez had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets, who left New Jersey after last season for a new $1 billion home in Brooklyn. They were greeted by 14,219 fans on the night they became Brooklyn's first major pro sports team since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957.
With the Nets leading by six, Williams fed Gerald Wallace for a basket about 30 seconds after returning and exchanged words and technical fouls with Wizards reserve A.J. Price after Price fouled him with 56.5 seconds remaining. The two jawed a couple of times over the final minutes.
Williams said Price, from Long Island, kept saying that he was home.
"It's my home now," Williams said. "I told him that."
Bynum's knee update
Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum was scheduled for another injection on his injured right knee Monday. Bynum was to receive an injection of Synvisc a gel-like substance that sometimes provides relief for inflamed tissue. The natural substance is designed to lubricate and cushion the joint.
The Sixers say the shot has been a routine procedure for Bynum during the previous two seasons and is unrelated to the bone bruise on his right knee. They still expect him to be ready for the Oct. 31 season opener.
The Sixers acquired Bynum from the Lakers in a four-team deal that saw them ship Andre Iguodala to Denver.
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki missed Monday night's preseason game against the Houston Rockets. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle did not say whether Nowitzki still is bothered by a right knee that has been drained twice over the past month.
D-Fenders hire Theus
The Los Angeles Lakers' minor-league team has hired Reggie Theus as its new coach. Theus will coach the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the NBA Development League, the Lakers announced.
Theus was the Sacramento Kings' coach for 18 months, going 44-62 before getting fired in December 2008. He then spent two seasons as an assistant to Kurt Rambis in Minnesota before working in television last year.
Theus played 13 seasons for five teams in the NBA. He enjoyed two successful seasons as the coach at New Mexico State before Sacramento hired him.