Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez logging plenty of minutes in playoffs
Lionel Hollins has tightened his rotation during the playoffs and that means plenty of court time for his key guys.
Specifically Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.
Johnson and Lopez are among the top 14 in average minutes per game this postseason and both looked tired at times in the Nets' 107-97 loss to the Hawks Wednesday night. Johnson is averaging 42.6 minutes per game, which places him fourth, and Lopez is logging 39.8 per contest.
Hollins admitted Lopez, who scored 15 points on 4 of 13 shooting, didn't have a lot in his tank especially late.
"He was gassed the last two games at that point," the Nets coach said. "It's really difficult. He's a big man. We just couldn't at that point afford to sub with another big guy . . . But he played through it. I just have to figure out a way to give him a little more rest in different times."
Although he didn't utilize it Wednesday night, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has taken a page out of his mentor's book in this series, intentionally fouling Mason Plumlee the same way Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is purposely hacking the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan in their Western Conference series.
Plumlee was 2-for-8 from the free-throw line in the first four games.
"It's just strategy," Hollins said. "They are doing their strategy, and we are doing our strategy, and they caught us off guard down here in Atlanta [in Games 1 and 2] when they did it. I wasn't caught off guard.
"I knew they were going to do it, but I was going to play him and I wasn't going to let them continue to do it and kill momentum."
After seeing the court in Games 2 and 3 and working his way back from blood clots in his lungs, Mirza Teletovic hasn't played in these last two games and Hollins suggested he'll only call on Teletovic for spot duty at best.
"He's been out three months and he's only had a couple of practices where he's worked with us," Hollins said, "and it would be unfair for me to expect him to go in there and play 20 minutes and be effective . . . But I'm not counting on Mirza to help us for long periods of time. He understands that."