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Defense starts on Saturday; Brooks, Stackhouse, Taylor out

Brooklyn Nets

Avery Johnson says the first stat he is going to check after Saturday's game with the 76ers is points in the paint...for the Sixers. Defense in fact was a big part of the Nets last practice before their first preseason game. There was even a test, the first of several on the subject.

Johnson gave an oral exam and the players had to jot down the answers within a minute. But he got a few complaints about his questions. "I didn’t know if that was an insult to my New Orleanian vernacular or was it because of the comprehension of the students?"

Friday's test was about defensive principles. Brook Lopez thinks he did very well. "Oh, I nailed it. I nailed it. ... I'm confident about that for sure." They will be without three players in Atlantic City: MarShon Brooks, Tyshawn Taylor and Jerry Stackhouse. None are considered serious but the Nets are being very cautious. That still leaves 15 players in uniform.

Finally, Andray Blatche wants you to know his first name is pronounced ANN-Dray, not AWN-Dray.