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Hollins: Lopez has to be more than scorer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Lionel Hollins knows what he wants to see from Brook Lopez.

The Brooklyn Nets coach got to the point when asked what he has seen from Lopez this season.

"The same Brook," Hollins replied after practice. "He can score. He needs to be better defensively, he needs to be better rebounding, he needs to be better passing the ball to his teammates."

Coming back from foot surgery, Lopez has had difficulty getting into a flow. His minutes also have fluctuated in the fourth quarter. So far, Lopez has played four minutes or less during the fourth quarters of six of the 11 games he has played this season.

Lopez did not play during the fourth quarter of the Nets' 99-87 loss in San Antonio last Saturday. It was the second time this season Lopez hasn't played in the fourth quarter when available, the first being a 104-96 win over the Orlando Magic on Nov. 9.

He also played only 1:58 during the fourth quarter of a 95-83 loss to the Miami Heat at home on Nov. 17.

Lopez said he hasn't talked to Hollins about his most recent fourth-quarter inactivity. But Lopez knows Hollins has made it clear he will go with the lineup he believes is best for each game down the stretch.

"It's typical, it's the usual from game to game. There's different lineups depending on who we play," Lopez said. "So I think it is pretty standard at this point."

When asked what he needs to do to be able to play in the fourth, Lopez replied, "I don't know, he is going with the looks he wants. He's the coach and that is how he controls it."

Lopez, who is averaging 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game, said he has plenty of room for improvement.

"I guess it's just more reading the defense," Lopez said on how he can improve his passing. "Seeing who's open, where guys are when you are being doubled, stuff like that."

"Absolutely," Lopez added when asked whether he believes he can still improve. "I'm not playing well right now, I know that. I know that even when I have been at my best, I know there's tons of room for improvement. There's always room for improvement. That's a ridiculous question. Every player in the league can improve."

Hollins said he saw Lopez work on some of the things he is looking for during Monday's practice.

"If you had been able to see practice today, you would've seen some really nice passes," Hollins said. "It's just being aware and trusting that your teammates are going to make plays, and understanding the game better."

Like the rest of the Nets, Kevin Garnett says Lopez needs time to adjust to a new coach yet again.

"Brook obviously has the obligation to learn the system and to be better," Garnett said. "But if you're breaking it down from a basketball standpoint -- I don't know how many of you have played basketball professionally in the NBA and been through seven, eight different systems, [then maybe] you can relate. If not, take it from that standpoint.

"It's just not an easy thing. If you guys had seven different bosses in seven years and each boss has something different, it's no different from this."

Hollins, though, thinks Lopez can still improve despite this being his seventh season.

"There's people that come into this league and their whole life they're only asked to do one thing," Hollins said. "And when you get to this level, it takes a little more to win. I'm trying to ask him to do those things."