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Hollins calls for tougher, aggressive Lopez

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Lionel Hollins did not like what he was seeing from Brook Lopez on Sunday, so the Brooklyn Nets coach stopped practice and let his All-Star center know.

Hollins is not shy about critiquing his players because he wants to get the most out of them and make them better.

Asked what he wants the 26-year-old to improve on, Hollins said, “Just being more aggressive, being tougher, rebounding better, just being a force in the paint. ... I’d like Mason [Plumlee] to do the same thing. ... Be an inside player. If you’re an inside player, a big guy, patrol the paint, play outside last. Don’t play outside and never get to the paint.”

Asked specifically about Lopez’s passing, Hollins said, “Making Brook a better basketball player is priority. Being tougher, being more aggressive, thinking that every time the play is for him [score] but also being a guy that’s passing the ball to his open teammates. ... When I see a guy has a chance to pass to an open teammate for an easier shot, I try to point that out.”

It’s important for Hollins to try to instill these things in his players during spirited practices if the Nets are going to go far this season.

“No question,” the Nets coach said. “Because if you want to be a deep playoff-run team, you’ve gotta do these things now. We’ve gotta be who we are and building toward it as we leave training camp. It’s about being mentally tough, it’s about being focused, and it’s about understanding that.”

• Small forward Alan Anderson sat out of practice again because of a strained abdominal. ... Bojan Bogdanovic continues to see time with the other starters, but Hollins hasn’t revealed if the rookie will start Tuesday night against Tel Aviv.