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Johnson: Pistons game 'a huge challenge'

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets swingman Joe Johnson called Saturday night's road game against the Detroit Pistons "a huge challenge."

"Detroit pretty much had their way with us last year -- especially in the paint," Johnson said Friday.

The Nets went 1-3 against the Pistons in 2013-14. In those four games, they were outscored by 74 points in the paint (220-146) and outrebounded by 51 (190-139). Andre Drummond, Detroit's cornerstone in the middle, averaged 17.5 points and 15.8 rebounds in the season series.

"We just gave up [62] points in the paint to a [Boston] team that really didn't even post up," Nets point guard Deron Williams said. "So we'll have trouble with Detroit if we play the same way."

Brooklyn center Brook Lopez will not play for a second straight game because of his nagging right midfoot sprain. Lopez did not practice Friday, and it is unknown when he will return.

"I was optimistic every day, and when he doesn't come out and practice, I'm not optimistic anymore," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.

That means the "huge challenge" falls on the trio of Kevin Garnett, Mason Plumlee and Jerome Jordan to contain the Pistons inside.

"It's gonna put a big stress on our bigs," Hollins said. "You have to guard without fouling and stay in the game. It's important to have big guys on the court. But beyond that, we were counting on Brook to be a big part of what we're doing offensively, and he's not here to take that part, so we'll have to make adjustments."

Plumlee got in early foul trouble against the Celtics, committing a pair of fouls that forced him to the bench in the first quarter.

"A couple times I was overhelping a little too much and leaving my guy, and then I was rushing to get back and picked up a couple like that," Plumlee said.

Plumlee said he still wants to use his fouls but be smarter with them.

Overall, after watching film, Johnson believes the Nets have to communicate better on the defensive end. The bigs and smalls need to help one another, and the pick-and-roll coverage needs to be better.

"We've gotta be on the same page," Johnson said. "We haven't been on the same page."

Talking about solving their problems won't solve them.

"It's just about going out and doing it," Williams said.