Knicks, Nets set Oct. 4 date at TU Center

The NBA returns to the Times Union Center for the first time in five years when the Knicks meet the

Knicks against the Nets

When: Oct. 4

Where: TU Center

How much: $65, $55, $45 and $35. Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m., and can be purchased at the Times Union box office and Web site, select Price Chopper supermarkets. Group rates will be available.

More info:, (800) 30-EVENT.

Capital Region basketball fans got a good look at Terrence Williams in March, when he rallied Louisville past Siena in the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

They could get an even closer look when the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets — who took Williams with the 11th pick in the recent NBA draft — meet in an exhibition game on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Times Union Center.

“Any time we can get an NBA or NHL preseason game, being in a market without a major league team, it’s special,” said Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber. “The regional teams are always a great draw.”

The Sunday night game will be the first NBA exhibition at the building since the Nets beat the Boston Celtics, 95-86, on Oct. 16, 2004 at the Pepsi Arena.

Getting another NBA exhibition contest has been an annual goal for Belber and his staff.

“It’s not for lack of trying,” said Belber. “There are so many arenas in the Northeast that try to get these games every year. Some teams are also choosing to go to Europe to play. There are various reasons.

“I’ve developed a very good relationship with Mark Piazza [the Knicks senior vice president for sports team operations] at Mad­ison Square Garden, and also with the Nets. We’re happy to have both teams.”

Neither team made the playoffs last season. The Nets were third in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with a 34-48 record, 28 games behind division winner Boston.

The Knicks came in 32-50, last in the Atlantic.

Both teams have tried to upgrade since.

In addition to taking Williams — a 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward who scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against Siena — the Nets acquired shooting guard Courtney Lee and forward/center Tony Battie in a draft day deal that sent Vince Carter to Orlando.

The Knicks took Arizona power forward Jordan Hill with the No. 8 pick in the draft, then acquired Florida State shooting guard Toney Douglas (21 ppg) after the champion Los Angeles took him with the 29th pick.

Hill averaged 18.3 ppg., and took down 11 rebounds per game last season for Arizona. He and Douglas could both play with the Knicks’ team in the NBA Summer League.

Siena’s Kenny Hasbrouck has drawn attention from both teams, and had a pre-draft workout with the Nets.

“We made it a priority to make this game as affordable as possible,” said Belber, who said the no tickets are being held in reserve. “We realize that this is a tough time, but also want fans to be able to afford parking and concessions.

“Most of all, when they leave the building, we want them to say they saw a great game and had a good experience.”

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