Simplicity on defense rules the day for Nets’ improvement

Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson and the Nets are turning up the defense lately.
Credit: Getty Images

As the Nets try to explain how they’ve gone from being embarrassed by 30 points at home by the Knicks to winning four of their last five games, the buzzword has been “simplify.”

According to head coach Jason Kidd, the process of simplifying matters began before a 90-82 win in Milwaukee that saw the Nets emphasize Brook Lopez on offense while allowing a season-low in points.

“That’s as good as it gets when you simplify things and guys have bought in and guys are doing it at a high level right now,” Kidd said.

The question of what simplification means is tougher to answer.

Kevin Garnett has made it a point of emphasis during recent postgame interviews, saying how simpler the defensive schemes are.

Deron Williams, however, gave the most clear-cut revelation on why that transition has taken place in the seven games since assistant coach Lawrence Frank was reassigned by head coach Kidd on Dec. 3.

“Lawrence was always kind of the defensive guy, so he was talking on defense and he was definitely long-winded when it came to teaching,” Williams said after Tuesday’s practice in Brooklyn. “We’re a veteran group, we get things pretty easily. So at times when you’re just talking and we’re not practicing, it gets a little lengthy. But I think J-Kidd does a good job of getting his points across quick and easy and then we move on.”

Joe Johnson, like several teammates, emphasized the improved communication players such as Alan Anderson emphasized after last Thursday’s 102-93 win over the Clippers.

“Nah, not really man,” Johnson said when asked if the team had simplified its defense. “It’s more communication more than anything. Letting guys know where you’re going to be in certain spots defensively, when you communicate and talk those things out, then there’s no indecision. Then guys are in their right spots.”

Still, Kidd believes there is room for constantly pounding points across to his players.

“They want to be coached and so this is a group that you can ask them but they want to be coached,” Kidd said. “They want to be told what we’re trying to do and when you tell them to go through it and not just once but continue to go through it so they can get better at it.”

Whatever the cause is, the effect has started to generate the positive results the Nets were expecting.

Lopez feels better, expects to play

Brook Lopez was able to enjoy missing Monday’s game with a sprained left ankle because of Johnson’s 29-point third quarter but he is optimistic about not missing a third straight game and 10th game overall.

“He was all right,” Lopez deadpanned. “I think he missed yesterday, so it wasn’t that great, but if I had to pick one game this season to sit out and watch, that was the one. It was fun to watch.”

It seemed Lopez was set to return after proclaiming himself ready following Monday’s shootaround but eventually the training staff overruled him after seeing some movements they didn’t like.

Lopez did everything in practice and he doesn’t envision being overruled again.

“I don’t expect to get overruled tomorrow, but we’ll see when the time comes,” he said. “In my mind I feel confident I’ll be playing tomorrow, but then again, how’d that work out last time? You guys can believe me, though, I promise.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn packed for annual West Indian Day Parade

Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway was packed Monday with an estimated one million people showing up to celebrate West Indian culture on Labor Day. Parade-goers waved flags…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Gossip

Brad and Angelina honeymoon in Gozo

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have taken their brood to Gozo for a working honeymoon.

Entertainment

Where to place the blame in a nude…

When a celebrity's private photos are leaked online, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that they only have themselves to blame, since they took…

MLB

Cole Hamels, three other Phillies throw no-hitter

The Phillies had something to cheer about in September despite being mired in last place and struggling to figure out what their future looks like.…

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…

Career

The number of telecommuters is expected to nearly…

Until a few years ago, telecommuting was not considered a realistic option at most companies. But with technological advances like high-speed Internet and smartphones, more…

Wellbeing

Your new food ally to ward off type…

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide, according to a small nutrition trial from…