Even when the Nets drop 40 points in a quarter, even when they lead by 22 points with 12 minutes left, even when they have a clear talent advantage, it just never seems easy for the Brooklyn Nets, who seem to put their fans through enough existential crises that you wonder if they’re paying luxury-tax bills by purchasing stock in Brooklyn’s therapists.
Everything seemed right. The “Big 3,” somehow still together through another rumor-filled trade deadline, hummed in their respective roles. Brooklyn’s defense played well enough to hold off an underwhelming Lakers attack. A rapid-fire third quarter seemed to seal the game.
But the Nets then spent the better part of the closing quarter misfiring, taking contested, off-balance looks, turning the ball over, allowing points in transition, and committing silly fouls, nearly giving away that lead against a Western Conference bottom-feeder.
One old cliche sums this one up: “A win is a win.” But a slightly younger one, invented by Gerald Wallace two years ago, similarly rings true in the last few minutes: “Typical Nets Basketball.”
The stats: 22 PTS, 8-19 FG, 14 REB, 1 BLK
I should give him an A+ just for being on the roster this long. But more than anything else, Lopez dominated the inside against a Lakers team that’s among the league’s worst at defending the paint, flipping in easy bunnies and establishing deep position. He also knocked down a few mid-range jumpers, hit double-digits in rebounds (though a couple of those came off his own missed shots), and heartily outplayed Brooklyn’s remaining centers.