On Family Day, Nets Recap Intra-Squad Scrimmage
Last night, the Brooklyn Nets took their first internal look at how their roster might fare under NBA conditions. Coach Avery Johnson simulated a gameday, starting with a morning shootaround and culminating in a three-quarter (1st, 2nd and 4th) scrimmage at the PNY Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
The White team, led by Deron Williams (11 points, 4 assists) and Joe Johnson, topped the Black, headed by Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace. C.J. Watson led all scorers with 24 points, while Josh Childress pulled down a game-high 9 rebounds, just ahead of Wallace and Kris Humphries, who each snagged eight.
"It was really, really good overall," Johnson said. "We got after it defensively. A lot of physical play. That led to a lot of free throws, but if we can do a better job of playing defense without fouling, then our defense is going to go to the next level."
The coach believes the team's defense is ahead of its offense, with shooters still trying to find rhythm due to floor spacing issues and shots being contested. He was encouraged to see no easy layups, and felt the paint defense was "pretty good."
Praising Lopez and backup Andray Blatche in particular, Johnson noted they combined for roughly seven blocks, a good indicator of effective help defense. The situational experience -- Black notably trailed by just five heading into the final minute -- should help the team in its efforts to jell on-court. Watson exited the game late with a strained right hip, but Johnson expects him to practice Sunday, when the team will head to Barclays Center to begin the process of getting familiar with the home arena.
"It's important for us to get in the building, get a feel for it, try to see if we can get it to feel like home," Johnson said. "We'll have an open practice there and then maybe during the week of the opening game we may have an opportunity to practice there. We're gonna have shootarounds there, and we need those three preseason games in the building to get used to the crowd, get used to going to the game."