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Starting five: Nets defense can't finish

CLEVELAND -- From the moment Jason Kidd took over as coach, defense has been a main focal point for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets have preached repeatedly about how they must play suffocating defense. In the season opener, the Nets held Cleveland to 41.7 percent shooting and under 100 points. But they lost 98-94 in large part due to the Cavs making back-breaking buckets with the shot clock winding down.

No score hurt more than when the Nets managed to build a wall in front of Cavaliers' point guard Kyrie Irving, forcing him to dribble much of the shot clock off until Irving passed off to Anderson Varejao, who drilled a 14-footer with 28.1 seconds left to give the Cavs a 93-91 lead.

"That bit us in the butt all night long," Jason Terry said. "And that was finishing on a possession on the defensive end. Play great defense for 20 seconds but then in the last four seconds they get off a shot. And they probably went in about 80 percent in that type of situation."

The Nets also surrendered 16 offensive rebounds to the Cavaliers. So even though they held the dynamic Irving to just 4-for-16 shooting, they gave up too many key jumpers to the Cavs when they came close to getting a stop.

Next up is LeBron James and the defending champs, who will put the Nets defense to the test.

In case you missed it: Paul Pierce discusses winning a championship in Brooklyn, his rivalry with the Knicks and Heat and the Nets perhaps becoming NBA villains.

Here's my column on why it may take some time for the Nets to show their championship potential.

D-Will sat out the fourth of the opener due to a minutes restriction.

Joe Prunty served as coach in place of Kidd. Here's why.