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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Nets' defense is still a work in progress

By Mike Mazzeo

NEW YORK -- Defensively, the Brooklyn Nets remain a work in progress.

But Tuesday night's performance on that end was a step in the right direction. The Nets gave up 11 3-pointers, but held the Boston Celtics to 43.8 percent shooting in their 104-96 victory at Barclays Center.

The Nets came into the game ranked second-to-last in defensive efficiency, giving up 107 points per 100 possessions. It was their fourth game since defensive coordinator/lead assistant Lawrence Frank was "reassigned" to doing "daily reports."

Nets coach Jason Kidd has been implementing new concepts ever since. One of the main changes to the defense, according to point guard Deron Williams, is that the bigs are moving up on pick-and-rolls, something Frank and Kidd disagreed on, sources told ESPNNewYork.com.

"Defensively, we have these new principles that Jason Kidd has put in, and we are starting to get them down slowly but surely," power forward Kevin Garnett said. "They are very simplified terms and rotations and schemes, and we are working on them. We have the time to work on them and it has been very consistent working on them. We were able to carry it over today."

"You know, a lot of it has just been trust between each other," center Brook Lopez added. "We really trust each other and I think a big factor has been communication. We've been out there talking to each other. KG's in my ear, the guards are in my ear constantly to talk on the pick-and-rolls. It helps foster a solution. It may not always be perfect, it may not always be correct, but that communication helps us fix that."

• The game could've been lost in the third quarter. The Celtics kicked off the quarter on a 13-4 run to tie the game at 60. But the Nets responded with a 10-0 run of their own, and ultimately outscored Boston 29-25 in the third.

"I'm not sure what it was, but we were able to turn the corner," shooting guard Joe Johnson said. "I'm glad we were able to respond."

• In the last two games, center Brook Lopez is averaging 28 points on 80.8 percent shooting. Lopez has scored 20 or more points in three straight games. ... The Nets shot a season-high 55.7 percent from the field. ... The Nets' 31-20 lead after the first quarter was their biggest after the opening stanza this season. ... Alan Anderson is averaging 13 points on 61.1 percent shooting in his last two games (both starts).