Brook Lopez helps get better of twin as Nets win
The guy in charge of making the NBA's schedule was at Barclays Center last night, checking out some action before the Nets' four-day hiatus between games.
It might've been a bold move for Matt Winick considering the Nets are preparing to embark on a two-week road trek next week. But hey, he did provide them with some down time before Sunday's matchup with the Hawks.
"It's pretty good with this 14-day road trip coming up," Gerald Wallace said. "I guess this is their way of telling us, 'Enjoy your bed while you can.' "
At least Winick had them playing the Hornets Tuesday night, the second of a back-to-back. The Nets could've thrown a bouquet his way for giving them a date with the young, struggling Hornets less than 24 hours after a disheartening loss to the Atlantic Division cellar-dwelling 76ers.
With their main go-to Joe Johnson sitting this one out with a sore left heel so he can take full advantage of the four-day break, the Nets needed a pick me up in the worst way.
Utilizing the Brook Lopez-Andray Blatche combination in extended minutes in the fourth for the first time, the Nets swatted away the pesky Hornets, 108-98, before a sellout crowd of 17,732.
Lopez, who finished with a game-high 26 points and five rebounds, and Blatche (18 points, five rebounds) totaled nearly half of the Nets' 30 points in the fourth quarter. They registered 14 points for the Nets (38-27), who shot 52.6 percent from the field in the fourth.
"Aw man, it was great," Blatche said. "We had a great response with it. We kept the lead, we got the 'W' and it was exactly what we all thought it would be. It would be easier for Deron [Williams] and certain guys to drive the lane because we spread the floor so well."
Williams added 21 points, 13 assists and three steals, and Wallace had 13 points and eight rebounds.
Williams basically had his way with the Hornets (22-43) and continued his off-the-charts play that's been prevalent since the All-Star break. He's efficiently running the offense and attributed that partly to being able to call his own plays on the floor rather than having interim coach P.J. Carlesimo do it.
"I try to tell P.J., at times, he starts calling a lot of plays and we kind of have to all turn and look," Williams said, "and it slows down the game, slows down our rhythm. We don't flow as well, so guys get out of rhythm. So I just tried to tell him that I have no problem with him calling plays, but at times when we get it, just let us push it and I know how to spread the ball and get everybody involved."
He certainly got Lopez into the mix in the third quarter, setting him up nicely for a monstrous, posterizing dunk of his twin brother, Robin, that handed the Nets a 72-65 advantage and gave him some fodder for the next family reunion.
"I think I might get him for a little bit tonight," Lopez said. "I don't think he'd want to put up with me, though. So I know my friends are going to text him about it, though."
Williams' bubbly postgame vibe was a stark contrast to the obvious disappointment following Monday's loss in Philadelphia. So, too, was Wallace's. That's what washing the bad aftertaste out of their mouths in a bounce-back game will do. “It was very important because we felt like we gave that game away last night," Wallace said. "We didn’t come prepared. We could have won five games [in a row] and be sitting pretty good here. But we kind of gave that game away, so this was must win for us.”