Kevin Garnett already helping Brook Lopez, Nets on defense

Kevin Garnett, right, is already helping Brook Lopez out on defense. Credit: Getty Images
Kevin Garnett, right, is already helping Brook Lopez out on defense.
Credit: Getty Images

Kevin Garnett has several ways of getting a competitive advantage and it often involves talking.

It includes his commentary on the court to teammates consisting of reading what plays are coming — a bit of gamesmanship which can irk opponents but also gives his team an extra second or two to set their defense.

The Nets, especially former coach Avery Johnson, seemed bemused by it the first time they took on Garnett and the Celtics last season, going as far as to say they wished Garnett would keep his mouth shut.

This time around, the Nets will not have to tell Garnett to silence himself. Instead they will have his abilities to read situations as they unfold to their advantage.

The Nets have had that edge for nearly three months since acquiring him from the Celtics on July 12 but only now it is starting to help.

Their training camp scrimmages at Duke were often competitive and talkative sessions and at their first full practice back in East Rutherford, N.J. Monday afternoon, that seemed continued.

Among those who Garnett’s foreshadowing should help is center Brook Lopez. Lopez became a first-time All Star last season primarily due to his offense while his defensive game remains what coaches and players like to term a “work in progress.”

“I definitely noticed it last year,” Lopez said. “It makes us so much of a better defensive team. We have time to set up. It helps us.”

Part of that work in progress is reading situations and figuring out how he should properly rotate defensively.

“He’s a constant talker on the floor and it’s not necessarily at me,” Lopez said. “A lot of the situations it helps. He’s talking through the team defense in a spot where he needs to be, letting me know he has my back and I have his back vice versa. It’s good to have that chirping in your ear because it gets you to talk on the court as well.”

“That was big point down at Duke trying to get the guys closer together, being able to communicate and I think we accomplished that but also it carried over to here,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “But these guys got to communicate, relay plays both offensively and defensively and hopefully come the end of October, they’ll be as close as we want them to be.”

Training camp and preseason practices are about installing a defensive and offensive game plan. It is also about a team with new pieces coming together and for the Nets they plan on using Garnett’s know-how after six years of running their offense against him four times a year.

“I think it was a bit more unknown last year,” Lopez said. “There were still a lot of variables this season but we’ve been through before at this point. We’ve got a lot of intelligent guys that are coming into this situation.”

The situation informally kicks off Tuesday night in Washington and formally begins Oct. 30 in Cleveland.

Terry takes contact

Jason Terry has been on the Nets since coming over from Boston in the July blockbuster deal but in his eyes it wasn’t official until he took part in full contact during practice on Monday.

Terry was more than excited to talk about it.

“Yeah, contact, so officially I’m a Brooklyn Net today, 5-on-4 scramble drill,” Terry said. “I felt great. I was out for seven consecutive minutes. I’m feeling good. The key is to keep me feeling that way.”

Terry is not going to play Tuesday after undergoing knee surgery in July but he is taking steps toward being ready for his first real game. He will continue that by taking part in his first full practice on Wednesday.

Until he steps on the court in an actual game situation, he’ll just enjoy the positive feelings he has seen from his new team.

“It’s a great vibe,” Terry said. “It’s a brotherhood. It’s what you envision when you come into a new group of guys with the veteran leadership that we have.

“The best part of it is the plane rides. I can’t wait to get on the plane right now. Usually during the season, you’re like, ‘Damn another plane trip.’ Now it’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s go on the plane man.’

Kidd ready for “coaching debut”

Kidd’s coaching debut in a game that counts will not take place until Nov. 3 in Orlando when he returns from a two-game suspension for his DWI from July 2012 in the Hamptons.

In the meantime, he’ll settle for eight preseason games and like any other NBA coach, his focus on those games will feature some different faces, some things being worked on from the playbook and what combinations seem to be effective.

“Just our principles,” Kidd said of what he hoped to see Tuesday night. “Understanding that this is the first game of preseason, minutes are going to be low and for the guys that take the floor, play offensively, play our principles and play hard.”

The different combinations aspect comes into play because Deron Williams is still recovering from a right ankle sprain and will not play. Shaun Livingston could start at the point while Tyshawn Taylor will also see some time there.

As for the days leading up to the preseason opener, Kidd talked of team bonding, which was on display when the Nets huddled at the end of practice and in unison said “All In.”

“I think it started the night I had the team dinner down at Duke,” Kidd said. “Everybody spoke and everybody kind of gave their role. It started that day and it’s a process of working at it every day to be committed to being all in.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…