1. Brooklyn Nets a much-improved defensive club
Save for a bad outing against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, in which the Brooklyn Nets surrendered 30 points off turnovers and 132 points overall, the Nets would have the look of an elite defensive team.
Even with the big night the Pacers enjoyed, the Nets are only allowing teams to shoot 44.1 percent overall and 36.2 percent from 3-point range and are allowing an average of 106.5 points per game.
In the three games against teams not located in Indiana, the Nets are allowing just 98 points a contest.
Brooklyn is still having some problems getting the ball off the defensive window, allowing 13 offensive rebounds a game, and they aren’t turning teams over a lot, with opponents averaging 11.5 turnovers a night.
But this group is playing much better team defense than it did a season ago. The closeouts on shooters are quicker. The help-hedge decisions are crisper.
Cleveland’s 38.2 percent shooting performance was the worst against Brooklyn since the Chicago Bulls hit 35.5 percent at Barclays Center on Feb. 26. It’s the best performance on the road by the Nets since Miami shot 33.7 percent on Dec. 29.
Make your open shots, keep the other guys from getting too many of their own. It sounds simple, but it’s something the Brooklyn Nets are doing well in the early going this season.