The Nets' defense remains a work in progress.
Defense was certainly an issue, particularly on the interior in the first half of Monday's 98-88 win at the Barclays Center. The Wizards essentially had their way in the paint, grabbing offensive rebounds and creating some havoc.
The Nets yielded four offensive boards to Washington in the first half and things weren't great out on the perimeter, either. The Wizards connected on 10 of 23 attempts from the field overall during the game's initial 24 minutes, shooting 36.4 percent from three-point range.
"To be the best team," Avery Johnson said, "we definitely can’t play defense like we played in the first half."
So Johnson had the players look at the first-half game footage during the intermission before heading out for the third quarter, hoping it would quickly highlight the Nets' defensive breakdowns and lead to a better performance in the second half.
"They got after it defensively," Johnson said. "It was keyed by Josh Childress and C.J. Watson’s defense. Deflections, steals, one-on-one defense, [Andray] Blatche did a good job of trying to anchor it inside. I thought there was a stretch there where Reggie Evans came in -- even though he didn’t play a lot of minutes – I thought there was a stretch in there where he played pretty good pick-and-roll defense to slow them down."
Joe Johnson said there were a few systematic breakdowns in the first half that were rectified.
"We were late on some rotations and they got a couple of and-1s," he said. "But we made some adjustments at halftime and were able to come out and execute in the second half."
That, of course, pleased their coach after that halftime film session.
"Fortunately, because we’ve got some veteran guys that are really coachable, I don’t have to specifically talk about team," Johnson said. "If Gerald Wallace makes a mistake or Joe Johnson makes a mistake or Deron [Williams] and so forth and so on, they are really receptive when you point out their mistakes individually. I can see the look on their face -- even though it’s a preseason game -- where they were saying, 'Yes. I’ll get it right next time.' "