EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Word of the day from Nets coach Lionel Hollins was "spotty." That was his description of the team's rebounding during preseason play. And of his players' implementation of the new coach's system.
It also would apply to the solidity of his lineup, with center Brook Lopez still unable to practice because of a sprain in his surgically repaired right foot.
Hollins did say that it was his "opinion" that Lopez will be available for the Nets' season opener in Boston on Wednesday night.
"He was on the weightless, or whatever they call it, treadmill," Hollins said. "He's doing fine. I think he'll be ready for opening night."
Hollins confirmed that Lopez has not yet been cleared for practice by team doctors, though he said it "doesn't matter" whether Lopez practices before Wednesday night's game as long as he is healthy to play.
Hollins acknowledged some displeasure with the Nets' rebounding -- "boxing out might help," he said -- and defensive play.
Guard Deron Williams said the team was shown video of how the players have not been preventing "straight-line drives" to the basket. "Letting guys drive right by us," he said, "then we're having to switch a lot, and that's something we don't want to do.
"Lionel doesn't like that. He likes you to know who your man is and stay with your man. You know, a lot of time you start switching and it just gets out of hand, starts to be the blame game: I said 'switch'; you didn't switch. When you're not switching, you don't have that problem. Your man scores, it's your fault."
In other words, "spotty" play.
"Defense is about doing it every time," Hollins said. "Defense is consistency and work ethic. It's five guys on the same page, doing it together. We've had moments where we've looked really good, and we've had moments where we had two or three guys doing well and a couple of guys resting. It's got to be all five guys every defensive possession."
Notes & quotes: Third-year guard Marquis Teague, acquired by the Nets from the Bulls in January, on Friday was traded to the 76ers -- along with the Nets' 2019 second-round draft choice -- for guard Casper Ware, a second-year pro out of Cal State-Long Beach. Ware, 24, appeared in nine games for Philadelphia last season, averaging 5.3 points and 1.1 assists off the bench. Teague, drafted by Chicago in 2012 out of Kentucky, split 40 games between the Bulls and Nets last season, averaging 2.7 points and 1.5 assists . . . The Nets exercised the third-year contract options on forward/center Mason Plumlee and guard/forward Sergey Karasev. Both players will remain under contract through at least the 2015-16 season.