This Week in Nets History: April 20

The Nets hire Kevin Loughery, sweep the Knicks, and more

Every Monday, we’ll take a look back and recognize significant dates in Nets history that occurred in the upcoming calendar week.

April 23, 1973

The Nets hire Kevin Loughery as head coach. An 11-year NBA veteran after playing collegiately at St. John’s, Loughery finished the 1972-73 season as player/coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, then retired as a player and took the Nets’ coaching position. He led the Nets to ABA titles in 1974 and 1976 and remains the longest-tenured coach in franchise history, fired during the 1980-81 season. Loughery is the franchise leader in coaching wins with a 297-318 record. He later coached Atlanta, Chicago — where his former Nets assistant coach Rod Thorn was the GM who hired him — Washington, and Miami.

April 23, 2012

The Nets play their final game in New Jersey after 35 seasons dating back to the 1977-78 season. The state was the franchise’s original home, as the New Jersey Americans were one of the ABA’s charter franchises during the 1967-68 season. After playing nine seasons on Long Island, the Nets returned to New Jersey for their second NBA season in 1977-78. They played their first four seasons at the Rutgers Athletic Center before moving into the brand-new Brendan Byrne Arena — later to known as Continental Airlines Arena and IZOD Center — for the 1981-82 season. After 29 seasons at the Meadowlands, with the move to Brooklyn on the horizon, the Nets moved to Newark’s Prudential Center for their final two seasons in New Jersey.

April 24, 1976

The Nets defeat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 to advance to the ABA championship series. With the league crumbling around them, the Nets pushed on towards capturing the ABA’s final title with a 121-114 win at Nassau Coliseum. Four Nets scored 20-plus points in the win, led by Julius Erving’s 28. John Williamson had 26, Rich Jones had 25, and Brian Taylor scored 20. The Nets would go on to beat the Denver Nuggets in six games in the championship series.

April 25, 2004

The Nets beat the Knicks 100-94 to seal a four-game sweep of their first-round playoff series. Kenyon Martin scores 36 points with 13 rebounds in the win, while Jason Kidd has 20 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Martin averaged 14 rebounds per game in the series. The Nets would go on to drop their second-round series against Detroit, ending their bid for a third straight NBA Finals appearance.

April 26, 2002

Kerry Kittles hits a 3-pointer with 22.5 seconds remaining to lift the Nets to an 85-84 Game 3 win in the first round of the playoffs against Indiana. Jason Kidd scored 24 points with 11 assists and Kenyon Martin had 21 points. The Nets entered the 2002 NBA Playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s top seed, but carrying the burden of a checkered NBA history with just one playoff series win in their first 25 seasons. They would go on to reach two straight NBA Finals, but the toughest challenge they would face in the Eastern Conference over those two seasons was the first one, against a veteran Indiana team that had gone to the Finals itself two years earlier. They eventually triumphed with a double-overtime win in the decisive Game 5.


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