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Nets observations: Lopez looking good so far

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez continues look good after coming back from foot and ankle surgeries.

Lopez had 18 points and 6 rebounds in 25 minutes in Sunday’s 97-95 preseason win over the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai.

“He’s been the dominant low-post presence that we’ve missed,” Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson said in a conference call after the team landed in Beijing. “He’s trying to fine-tune himself. We just look forward to everyone improving and getting better everyday.”

A couple observations about Lopez:

• He is confident making his offensive moves. There is no hesitation. His patented hook is just as potent as it was before injury. This is a very good sign.

• His defense against DeMarcus Cousins was solid. In the first quarter, Lopez stayed with a driving Cousins before blocking the Kings center’s shot. Cousins had just nine points. Sacramento’s speedy, penetrating guards did give the Nets a lot of trouble. This may be a problem all season.

• He rarely passed. At all. A couple of times, Lopez settled for shots when there were better options available. One instance that comes to mind was a turnaround jumper which ended in an airball. Lopez has made that shot in the past, but it’s just not a high-percentage attempt. That’s not going to earn him any favor with his teammates or the coaching staff. On a positive note, there was one play in which Lopez was stationed on the right elbow and made a nice pass to a curling Jarrett Jack, who fired a foul-line jumper which missed. Result aside, it’s a “flex” action that allowed Lopez to facilitate.

Overall, it was another step in the right direction for Lopez. But there are still things he needs to work on.

Other observations about the team:

• Young big man Mason Plumlee showed a couple nice back-to-the-basket moves he definitely didn’t have last season.

• Like GM Billy King said in a recent radio interview, reserve Mirza Teletovic looks much more confident in his shot. Teletovic drilled the game-winning 3-pointer late in the fourth.

• Jack likes to push the pace. While the starting unit, which has demonstrated good chemistry, is slow, Jack can change the tempo when playing with the likes of Andrei Kirilenko and Plumlee.

• Rookie Bojan Bogdanovic definitely looks like he has a high-basketball IQ. He was able to create some separation on one possession to get himself open for a nice little 15-footer. He also made a pretty move to score a bucket in the post. Still, Bogdanovic has been having trouble finishing at the rim, and his adjustment to the longer 3-point line continues to be a work in progress.

• Point guard Deron Williams finally discovered his shooting stroke early in the fourth, and hit a couple 3-pointers. Like Lopez, Williams, who underwent ankle surgery, looks good.

• Center Jerome Jordan performed well. If he keeps it up, it will be hard for the Nets to keep the training camp invitee off the final roster.

• Remember, this is only the preseason. And the Nets are facing the Kings, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers -- not exactly Goliaths. So take all this for what it’s worth.

Other notes:

Lionel Hollins (illness) did not coach the team on Sunday. Instead, lead assist Paul Westphal handled coaching duties. The Nets had no update on how Hollins was feeling. ... Small forward Alan Anderson (abdominal) missed his second consecutive preseason game. ... The Nets may not face Kevin Durant this season. Durant suffered a broken foot, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced Sunday, and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. The Nets face the Thunder in their home-opener on Nov. 3 and then in OKC on Nov. 21. ... Johnson said he plans to catch up on sleep Monday, when the team has a day off. He said he’s been sticking to foods that he’s comfortable with while in China. ... The Nets take on the Kings again Wednesday morning (7:30 a.m. ET/NBATV).