Four starters down.

So the fifth, Brook Lopez, knocks on wood a lot more these days.

"I just try to be durable, and I just want to be there for the team," said the Nets' third-year center, who has yet to miss a game in his career. "I want to be a dependable guy. I want the team to know they can rely on me."

Not only to be there, but to produce. Lopez is coming off a 27-point game against the Knicks on Friday, when the Nets were without Deron Williams (wrist), Anthony Morrow (knee), Damion James (foot) and Kris Humphries (ankle/heel).

Morrow may be available for tonight's game against the Raptors in Toronto (6:00, YES). But you know barring sudden illness, unseen injury or calamity at his beloved Disney World, Lopez will be there.

It has been an interesting season, to say the least, for Lopez, who had a career-high 39 points Wednesday at Detroit but was forgotten by teammates in the final 9:20.

"Tough double teams," Lopez said diplomatically.

Labeled a "cornerstone" player in preseason by coach Avery Johnson, Lopez heard his coach criticize his rebounding repeatedly. He saw Johnson staring at him with "tissue paper" remarks while questioning the team's toughness. Then there was the famous flare-up in Phoenix on Jan. 12, when the coach yanked Lopez late in the fourth quarter and the center was caught by television cameras mouthing some un-Disney-like comments.