Pregame: Avery tweaks  KG

November, 15, 2012
11/15/12
1:05
PM ET
Kevin Garnett's knowledge of the game makes coaching against him a nightmare.

Just ask Avery Johnson.

“The funny thing is, I wish he would be quiet on the floor and not call out your plays,” the Nets coach said in a bemused and complimentary tone Thursday morning prior to his team’s nationally-televised contest against KG’s Celtics. “He’s seen so much. We’ll call a play and he’ll say, ‘Joe is going over here and Deron is going here.’ It’s not funny anymore, OK?

“As much as (Rajon) Rondo quarterbacks their offense, (KG) quarterbacks their defense. ... I like every now and then when we’ll surprise him with something, and then maybe he’ll look at the bench and curse the other coaches out, not me.”

Center Brook Lopez is looking forward to the challenge of facing the veteran.

“It’s always fun,” Lopez said. “He’s obviously one of the best players of all-time. It’s very good for me. He’s very physical. He plays hard every night.

“... There’s a lot of things I’d like to try to emulate that he does.”

Through six games, the 24-year-old Lopez is averaging 17.5 points and 6.7 rebounds, and shooting 52.6 percent from the field.

“I think I’ve been moving in the right direction,” Lopez responded when asked to assess his game so far. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played organized basketball, but it’s been fun, and I’ve just been working on really learning how to help my teammates out, and where I need to be for guys like Joe (Johnson), Deron (Williams) and Hump (Kris Humphries).”

Lopez, who played just five games last season due to a foot injury, doesn’t have any concerns about his foot.

“Yeah. That’s been gone (for a while),” he said.

• Rondo is listed as day to day after spraining his right ankle on Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz.

“I would be so surprised if Rondo is not playing tonight. We’re planning for a healthy Rondo,” Avery Johnson said.

Rondo has had 10 or more assists in 32 straight games, a stat that amazed Johnson.

• On Wednesday afternoon, the Nets served Thanksgiving dinner at the St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Joe Johnson
PTS AST STL MIN
15.7 3.7 0.9 35.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 7.0
AssistsD. Williams 6.3
StealsJ. Jack 1.2
BlocksB. Lopez 1.6