City Sports Report

Brook Lopez leading Brooklyn toward playoffs

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The roller coaster season for the Brooklyn Nets continues, as the team currently sits in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference Standings.  However, as of Monday morning, the Nets are only a half game up on the Boston Celtics and their opponents at Barclays Center on Tuesday, the Indiana Pacers, and one game up on the Charlotte Hornets.

One of the reasons the Nets have won five of six is the play of Brook Lopez, who was an NBA All-Star two years ago.  Lopez is having arguably the best streak of his career, as he has averaged 28.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3 blocks over 37.5 minutes over his last six games.

Nets head coach Lionel Hollins talked about Lopez after the Sunday win over the Los Angeles Lakers. “He knows where he’s going to get shots.  We’re playing toward him a lot in our game, and he’s delivered.  He’s played big-time basketball.  When you get 30+ points and in the way he’s doing it night in and night out, that’s huge for us.”

Deron Williams also commented on his teammate’s play.  “I definitely think he’s more comfortable.  He’s more confident.  You know, we’re giving him the ball in positions where he can just go up and score, and he’s using all his skills to his advantage.”

Brook himself said “I just feel a lot better.  It’s been more of a conscious effort I think as well.”

Opposing coaches have also chimed in on his better play.  “Brook is just so big and skilled,” Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott said after Sunday’s loss to the Nets.

With 10 games left, there are some who will say the “Nets control their own destiny,” which is true, but if you have watched this team play this season, could you possibly expect a 10-game winning streak, with at least 7 of their last 10 against playoff teams?  Realistically, winning 6 of the 10 gets them in.  Be clear, with the Atlanta Hawks having the option to swap draft picks with the Nets for the 2015 NBA Draft as a result of the Joe Johnson trade three years ago, so making the playoffs is a must for the team.  If Lopez continues putting up 29 and 9, then making the playoffs looks like a strong possibility.

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