Nets see defense improve as Jarrett Allen, Bruce Brown step up against Jazz

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Jarrett Allen blocks Rudy Gobert
Jarrett Allen blocks Rudy Gobert

Defense remains a work in progress for the Nets, but Tuesday's 130-96 win over the Utah Jazz was a big first step. Among a starting five that never did so much as practice together in the lineup, center Jarrett Allen and shooting guard Bruce Brown made major differences. 

Entering Thursday's 7:30 p.m. game against the Philadelphia 76ers, veteran forward Jeff Green -- who was among Tuesday's starters -- put an improved defensive performance into perspective Wednesday, with Allen and Brown in mind.

"J.A. really came out and handled his business, going against a guy who (was) an All-Star last year in Rudy (Gobert), signing the deal he just signed -- to me, it was a statement ... played tremendous, blocking Rudy dunks, his layups, he was just all over the place," Green said of Allen, who held Gobert to 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes. "And we credit that victory to his effort in the paint, dominating the paint.

"And ... about the lineup change, I think guys just took it as 'the next man up.' And we just came out and played together. Guys like Bruce came out and he played tremendous, on both ends of the court. He's a professional, always stays ready, did what he had to do to stay ready whenever his name was called and we just went out and wanted to focus on defense and rebounding -- and that's what we did."

Allen added offense in the form of a 19-point, 18-rebound double-double. Beyond limiting Gobert, he rounded out his production defensively with three steals and two blocks in 32 minutes.

Point guard Kyrie Irving kept the offense at a strong pace en route to 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 5 for 7 from long range, in 30 minutes. Brown's numbers were quiet on the surface, but a key effort delved deeper than six points, six rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes.

"Bruce definitely gives us a lot of energy, somebody that's willing to guard anybody," said forward Taurean Prince. "So when you've got that type of defender with that type of heart and carelessness about who they guard, they're just trying to win, it serves you well. And for J.A., I think it allows us to not take so many chances defensively.

"... J.A.'s been protecting the rim and getting steals, but that just allows us to be solid defenders and do what we're supposed to do and hold our own 1-on-1-defense-wise, and if they get to the rim, we know we have a guy back there. But I think that gives us more of an opportunity to stay even more solid and not have to take so many chances defensively."

As the Nets (4-4) work through a season full of firsts, guard Spencer Dinwiddie's partially torn right ACL and forward Kevin Durant's coronavirus-related quarantine have not helped matters.

The way head coach Steve Nash saw Tuesday's outing, though, Brooklyn took a big step in the right direction with a 6-1 Sixers team on deck.

"Everything comes so fast, especially in this season," Nash said. "And when it's a new team, a shortened training camp, losing Spencer, Kevin with the COVID quarantine -- there's so many things going on and we're so new in trying to figure out so many things that it feels so in its infancy that I don't know about 'reward' yet because we're trying to build for something. So I will say there's reward in seeing our guys play together and play hard and fight and scrap the way they did -- that is 'reward.'

"Even if we lost last night, I would've had a great feeling going home because they played together, they played the right way, they had a great attitude and they were connected. And so, that definitely is rewarding and I was proud of the way they approached it last night."