Lopez, who went 3-for-10 from the field and was benched again for the entire fourth quarter, exited toward the players' parking garage with GM Billy King without speaking to reporters. King was overheard encouraging Lopez and backup center Andray Blatche not to speak or criticize the referees in order to avoid being fined.
In three of Brooklyn's four games since the All-Star break, Lopez has played a combined seven seconds in the final period. All three of those games were decided by four points or less. Since the break, Lopez is averaging 16.0 points on 41 percent shooting.
Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo has said Lopez is enduring an "All-Star hangover," but cautioned that he didn't want to bench his 24-year-old center in fourth quarters because it was "bad for him."
None of that seemed to matter, though, on Sunday night, as Carlesimo again went to Blatche over Lopez.
"I thought that Dray was playing very well on both ends and I thought he was giving us good defense, because Marc (Gasol) really hurt us early, and then I thought after that we did a really good job, whether it was him or Darrell (Arthur)," Carlesimo said. "Dray also had Z (Zach Randolph) for awhile when we had Mirza (Teletovic) and he had to take the power guy until they brought Gasol back in. I wanted to go back with C.J. (Watson) also for offense, but I didn't think we had a matchup for Tayshaun (Prince).
"I thought that group was just playing so well. It was more the group playing well, (I) didn't want to break that group up."
Carlesimo said that he is "without question" concerned that Lopez's confidence may be hurting from the benchings, and plans to address it with him. But Lopez wasn't Brooklyn's only starter to sit down the stretch. Watson (4-for-8, 11 points) and Gerald Wallace (0-for-6) joined him, while Reggie Evans (14 rebounds) played for just three seconds.
Carlesimo elected to go with a lineup of Deron Williams, Blatche, Teletovic, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans and it cost his team in the crunch, as they combined to score five points on 2-for-8 shooting in the final five minutes and the score within five, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Wallace and Blatche also blew off the media following the game.
Without Joe Johnson, who leads the team in crunch-time scoring (64 points in the last five minutes, score within five) but was sidelined for a second straight game due to a sore left heel, the Nets ended up amassing a season-low 72 points and shooting 37.7 percent. Williams (55 crunch-time points this season) went scoreless with a turnover, while Lopez (52), Wallace (25) and Watson (14) were all DNPs in the fourth.
The Nets may be 33-24, but with Johnson hurt and the team struggling to deliver in crunch time when its best players are stapled to the bench, they feel a bit like a team in turmoil.