Opponents have shot 27.3 percent at the rim when Lopez has been there to protect it.
That's the lowest mark against 59 players who have defended at least five shots at the rim per game this season.
Last season, the Nets ranked last in opponent effective field goal percentage. This year, they rank 16th, and the biggest improvement has been at the rim, where they've allowed a lower volume and a lower percentage.
We shouldn't react too strongly to opponent shooting numbers after seven games. But the early signs are encouraging and the Nets have played six of their seven games against teams that currently stand above the league average in offensive efficiency, including games against the No. 1 ranked Celtics and No. 3 ranked Bulls.
The Nets have allowed 5.1 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did last season. Only the Clippers (-10.6), Thunder (-8.4) and Hornets (-7.7) have seen a bigger improvement in defensive efficiency.
Even when you take the league's overall drop *(-1.2), the Nets have improved more defensively than offensively (+1.7). Their opponents have not only shot worse, but turned the ball over more than they did last season.
* League-wide efficiency typically increases as the season goes on. The league average through Tuesday (102.7 points scored per 100 possessions) is much higher than it was at this point last year (100.6).
The scoring looks great at times, but the raw, points-per-game numbers are as much about pace as they are about efficiency.
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.
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