As Nets Stumble, Healthy Brook Lopez Struggles To Pinpoint Problem

AP
AP

It’s gotta be the… well, he’s not quite sure.

After two straight games in which he struggled but still exhibited some of his natural scoring ability, Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez finished his team’s 110-85 drubbing against the Indiana Pacers with five missed buckets and zero points. It’s just the second time Lopez has turned in a goose egg in the scoring column, the first coming when his career was just six games old.

Nets coach Lionel Hollins didn’t exactly give Lopez a vote of confidence after the performance.

“You’ll have to ask him where his confidence is. Where is my confidence in those guys that shoot so poorly on the bench? You know, that’s a different story,” Hollins said. “We’re all professionals. We have to go out there and play, and we didn’t get it done. There are no excuses.”

Lopez said he played “extremely horribly” and didn’t know what to think as shot after shot rimmed out.

“What do you think?” He said when asked what he’s thinking when he misses shots. “You think they should’ve went in?”

“They felt good to me. I felt they were shots I normally take, I normally make.”

Lopez missed three mid-range jump shots, a layup attempt out of a face-up move, and a hook shot in the paint. None of his attempts came easily at the rim, where he got the majority of his points as the team’s leading scorer in 2012-2013.

Lopez came off the bench for the third straight game after returning from a lower back strain, which he said was no longer a problem. “I feel 100 percent,” Lopez said. “I didn’t feel tired tonight. I felt tired the few previous games, but it’s none of that. There’s no injury stuff, no wind issue, it’s just I’m not me. I’m not playing the way I should play.”

Nonetheless, Lopez put some of the blame on his aching back just acting up at all. “I felt I was getting back into it (earlier in the season) and then my freakin’ back did what it did,” he said. “So I’ve just got to keep working and get back at it again. I know the player I am. I know the player that I can be, & I can’t get down on myself. I have to be that player.”

If Lopez wants to get his reps in, there’s two difficult matchups facing him before year’s end: DeMarcus Cousins & the Sacramento Kings Monday, and Joakim Noah’s Chicago Bulls Tuesday.

“I’ve just got to stick with it,” Lopez said. I’ve got to keep playing my game.”

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