- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2003

Seen and heard last night at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.:

BREAKING THE SILENCE — When Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was with New Jersey, Nets assistants were forbidden to speak to the media. That’s probably why before the game, Jordan engaged the local media in a wide-ranging interview.

Of his return here, Jordan said coming back to coach on the visitor’s bench at Continental Airlines Arenas was going to be an emotional experience.

“I’m a little bit nervous,” Jordan said. “It was going to come. Whether it was going to be now or two weeks ago or two weeks from now. I knew it was going to be an emotional time for me. [Wizards assistant] Mike [OKoren] and I spent a lot of time with those guys and with the coaching staff.”

The Nets have been a mess this season, hardly at all resembling the team that is the two-time defending Eastern Conference champs. They have had turmoil in the locker room, the team is for sale, and starting forward Kenyon Martin has been disgruntled ever since the team refused to offer him a maximum contract extension. Still, Jordan thinks that the Nets will get it together.

“I think it’s going to be a motivating factor; these guys thrive off of adversity,” Jordan said.

Jordan doesn’t miss being in New Jersey, but he does have feelings for the Nets. “As much as I hate to admit it, I have an affection for them and I hope they win an NBA title if we can’t,” he said. “I can’t lie.”

NOT WITH THE TEAM — Reserve center Brendan Haywood did not make the trip with the Wizards. He has flu-like symptoms but likely will rejoin the team today at practice.

FAMILIAR FACE — Former Wizards assistant coach Larry Drew is the top Nets assistant.

John N. Mitchell

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