Brook Lopez’s night could be summed up by one sequence that occurred early in the fourth quarter.
The only problem was, Lopez was being boxed out by Andrew Bogut instead of the other way around. Bogut had gotten great position on Lopez, so he was in the perfect spot for not one, but two chances at a tip-in.
On the ensuing Brooklyn possession, Lopez tried to finish at the rim, but Bogut rejected his dunk attempt, grabbed the ball and sent Stephen Curry on his way for a breakaway layup at the other end that gave the Warriors a 93-79 lead with 8:53 remaining.
Once again, Lopez had been outplayed by a tough, physical big man -- and once again, he wasn’t happy about it.
“I expect a lot of myself,” Lopez told reporters in Oakland after the Nets lost to the Warriors 107-99 Thursday at Oracle Arena, according to the New York Post. “I think the team is playing well despite me right now.
“I definitely need to grab more (rebounds). I don’t need to look at the stat line. I knew from tonight. Bogut did a good job of getting on the offensive glass, and I didn’t get him out of it.”
Lopez finished with 18 points -- just six in the final three quarters -- and five rebounds. Bogut, meanwhile, posted 11 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
Lionel Hollins had decided not to play Lopez down the stretch of the team’s previous two games. But the Nets coach chose to go with the 26-year-old center over Kevin Garnett (13 minutes) Thursday, perhaps because it was the second half of a back-to-back, he didn’t want to overexert the 38-year-old veteran and KG wasn’t all that effective anyway.
Lopez logged over nine minutes in the final period, scoring four points on 2-for-5 shooting and grabbing two rebounds. Bogut, meanwhile, posted six rebounds (four offensive) and had two blocks.
The Nets somehow managed to get within 98-92 before Lopez forced an ill-advised shot with Bogut draped all over him with 3:18 remaining, which led to Leandro Barbosa’s driving layup.
In his past three games, Lopez is averaging 15.3 points and 4.3 rebounds on 43.6 percent shooting in 26 minutes. While Lopez’s relationship with Hollins and their contrasting personalities is certainly an interesting storyline, the one-time All-Star’s uneven play on the court is the one that stands out right now.
There are times when Lopez looks dominant, and there are other times when he looks ineffective and frustrated.
Is it physical? Is it mental? Is it rust?
The Nets (4-4) dropped to 0-2 on their three-game West Coast road trip, which concludes Saturday night in Portland. They have been inconsistent on both ends of the court, mixing in flashes of brilliance with flashes of brutal play.
Still, Lopez seems like their biggest concern.
At least there’s plenty of time for him to find himself and right himself.