Damage from Hurricane Sandy leaves Nets home opener in doubt

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By now you’ve seen the pictures of the flooding and devastation from hurricane Sandy’s assault on the northeast. Well, unless you’re one of the more than 7 million without power in the region, then you unfortunately are living it (and likely not reading this).

Damage from Sandy has become a real threat to the Knicks at the Nets game Thursday, which was set to be the regular season debut of the Nets new home — the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, where the franchise moved after 35 years in New Jersey.

Earlier in the day, the NBA said it was still “assessing” the situation for games later in the week but that all the Tuesday night games would go on as scheduled.

The good news is the new center itself went undamaged from Sandy, reports Stephen Bondy of the New York Daily News. So long as it has power, the building could host the game Thursday night.

The question is could anybody get there?

As you may have read, storm surge flooded the already closed New York subway system, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying Tuesday morning it could be “four or five days” before the system is back up and running.

Why does that impact the Nets and the Barclays Center? Howard Beck explains at the New York Times.

Barclays Center is served by 11 subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, none of which are running at the moment. City officials have said it will be three or four days before subway service returns. The lack of mass transit could be crippling for the arena, which sits on Brooklyn’s busiest intersection, at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Parking in the area is severely limited. Barclays Center officials have promoted mass transit as the preferred option for visiting the arena, which opened Sept. 28.

The Nets also have home games scheduled for Saturday (against Toronto) and Monday (against Minnesota). The Knicks’ home opener is scheduled for Friday night against the Miami Heat.

There is no way the Nets want to postpone this game, both because it’s the home and building opener, and because they get a banged up Knicks team without Amare Stoudemire. There is no way the league wants to postpone an opening week, nationally televised game.

The question is, will they have a choice?