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As Nets lose in OT to Bucks, capping disappointing but landmark season, an unpublicized watch party on Barclays Center plaza (plus video of KD shot & tight fit on Dean St.)

In a seventh-game thriller last night at Barclays Center, the visiting Milwaukee Bucks beat the injury-hamped Brooklyn Nets in overtime last night, the first away victory for either team in the second-round Eastern Conference series.

It marked both (explicable) underachievement for the Nets and new acclaim for superstar Kevin Durant--plus some new purchase on borough/city fandom.

On the plaza

While the Bucks held official watch parties on the plaza of the not-quite-downtown Fiserv Forum, the Brooklyn Nets made no such announcement, though--somewhat to my surprise--the game was being broadcast when I arrived at the Resorts World Casino NYC Plaza during the fourth quarter. 

Perhaps 150 people were watching, and hawkers of both t-shirts and nutcrackers were unmolested. Why no announcement? Were they fearful of too big a crowd?

So the original Bruce Ratner promise that the scoreboard would be visible to passers-by from the plaza was bogus, given layers of advertising in front of it.

However,  under the Joe Tsai regime there's a new moneymaker--LED digital signage--that also can be used to broadcast the game while also complementing the (smaller) oculus digital advertizing.

From the plaza, I shot the reaction to Durant's game-tying shot near the end of regulation time. Later, of course, the crowd outside, and those leaving, were deflated and subdued.

 

A team that came close

So, what went wrong? As Yaron Weitzman wrote for Fox Sports, the loss of Kyrie Irving to injuries and James Harden's still-in-rehab performance was coupled with little playing time together, COVID-diminished practice time, and a loss of role players traded away.

Still, as Ian O'Connor wrote in the New York Post, Durant's "legend grew" and the crowd responded:
If you were inside Barclays Center, you will never forget the sound the crowd made when it realized the season wasn’t over after all. Madison Square Garden was never louder.
Never.
What next? 

There are six free agents who might not return for the 2021-22 season, so the team needs to regroup, wrote Weitzman:
It’s unlikely that there are any more megatrades in the pipeline, and the pandemic seems to be subsiding, meaning the Nets next season should have more time to practice and more space in the schedule to give their stars some rest. But is there any reason to believe that Irving, who hasn’t played more than 67 games in any of the past four seasons, can be relied upon to show up every night? And, sure, Harden was one of the league’s more durable players before this season, but he’s also 31, with thousands of grueling minutes on his odometer. Maybe this season was a fluke, or maybe it’s the start of the back end of his career. And while Durant proved that his Achillies injury hasn’t diminished his skills, his long-term health will always be a concern.
Watching game on plaza
In the Daily News, Stefan Bondy warned that this might have been the Nets' best chance:
Beat the Bucks and there’s a Brooklyn path to the Larry O’Brien trophy. Lose Game 7 and the Nets — with their capped-out injury-prone roster and zero control of own first-round picks from 2022 through 2027 — may never get another opportunity.
But who knows. If the stars stay healthy, the Nets have the most offensive firepower in the league.

Team store after game

Kristian Winfield, writing in the Daily News, reminded us that this was the second year of the "the superstar era in Brooklyn"--remember, Durant was in rehab for year one--and the team still has flaws:
But the same issues that plagued the Nets for the majority of the regular season came back to bite them in a decisive Game 7. The Nets turned the ball over 13 times to Milwaukee’s seven. They allowed the Bucks to grab 18 offensive rebounds. They allowed Giannis Antetokounmpo to bully his way to 40 points, mostly in the paint. And the defense that had taken so many strides failed them down the stretch, allowing Jrue Holiday to break free for five consecutive points that shifted the momentum back in Milwaukee’s favor toward the end of regulation.

Waiting on Dean Street
Some other images

After the game, the crowd was, as noted, subdued, and t-shirts were discounted to $5. The oculus went dark shortly before midnight.

There were long but orderly lines for people waiting at the two garages on Dean Street near the arena, one on the south side (in photo) and one attached to the 38 Sixth Ave. tower.

The scene on Dean Street was crowded, but a combination of police officers and arena-contracted pedestrian monitors kept traffic flowing reasonably well, in some cases waving eastbound traffic on Dean Street or southbound traffic on Sixth Avenue through posted red lights.

I didn't stick around for long, but it still wasn't a quiet night for neighbors. 

 

The short video above shows an ambulance making its way through a logjam relatively quickly, but Dean Street post-game is still an extraordinarily tight fit.

Vying for the limited space are pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicles exiting parking garages, vehicles exiting the arena's loading dock, and vehicles double-parking or otherwise parking in "No Standing" spots.

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