NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins held his tongue.
Hollins may have wanted to rip into his center, Brook Lopez, but he restrained himself.
“I don’t want to talk about Brook right now,” Hollins said Monday after Lopez scored five points on 2-for-8 shooting and grabbed one rebound in 22 minutes.
The Nets lost to the significantly undermanned Miami Heat 95-83 at Barclays Center, and have now dropped four games in a row.
“I don’t want to talk about any individuals,” Hollins continued. “I want to talk about the game and our effort. I hear what you’re asking. I just don’t want to go there right now. It’s not a good time -- for me.”
Still, sometimes saying nothing says a whole lot. And right now, Lopez isn’t anywhere close to the tough, aggressive-minded player Hollins wants him to be.
His five-point night snapped a string of 48 consecutive double-digit scoring efforts for the 7-footer.
“It’s tough. I expect myself to be better,” Lopez said. “I think I did a decently well defending [Chris] Bosh. I’m trying to find positive things to look at.”
Those are few and far between at this point.
For the fourth time in the past five games, Lopez was benched for a large portion of the fourth quarter. He logged just 1:58 in the final period.
“I’ve just gotta stay positive,” Lopez said. “I’m all for the team. I’ve always been [that way], and so if that’s the way it’s gonna go -- and it’s the best look -- so be it. I’m gonna be out there cheering my guys and supporting them.”
In his past five games, Lopez is averaging 14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.6 assists on 45.3 percent shooting in 26 minutes.
He picked up a pair of assists in the first quarter Monday night -- but he also picked up two fouls as well.
It set the tone for what turned about to be another bad night for Brook.
“It’s frustrating, but I’m not a referee,” Lopez said. “I just gotta stick with it.”
The Nets desperately need Brook Lopez, franchise player. But he has been slow to come back from foot injuries.
And who knows when that Brook Lopez will return.