After the Nets spent much of this week talking about strategies and adjustments, coach Jason Kidd and his players kept it simple Saturday night against the Bucks: give the ball to Brook Lopez and get out of the way. The strategy worked like a charm, as Lopez scored a season-high 32 points and the Nets came away with a desperately needed 90-82 victory over the Bucks in front of an announced crowd of 14,963 that was far smaller than that inside BMO Harris Bradley Center. “That’s Brook,” Kidd said. “That’s who he is. He’s a guy who demands attention, and he’s seen a lot of double teams in his young career, and he’s making all of the right plays. “He’s letting guys get to their spots, and guys are knocking down shots, so at some point he’ll see a little bit more of the single coverage where he feels comfortable, but then he’s going to get double-teams and guys are going to get open and knock down shots.” Coming off a 30-point blowout loss to the crosstown rival Knicks on their home floor Thursday, the Nets (6-14) repeatedly dumped the ball into the post where Lopez had his way with a series of much smaller Bucks defenders, something Bucks coach Larry Drew said he was concerned about pregame. “Brook Lopez is such a load,” Drew said before the game, “and certainly we’re going to need every big man available to try to defend him. It’s going to be a really interesting night, to say the least, particularly because we’re two big men short. “We know the problem Lopez poses down in the post, so we’re really going to have to be good tonight.” The Bucks (4-16) simply weren’t good enough to handle Lopez, however, as missing both starting center Larry Sanders and backup Zaza Pachulia due to injury left them with no way of slowing Lopez down in the post. He finished the game with those 32 points on 11-for-13 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in 40 minutes, which Kidd joked he didn’t realize after the game. “He draws so much attention that we can play through him all game,” said Joe Johnson. If they don’t double team, he’s gonna score or get fouled, and if they do double, then we have guys like me and Alan Andereson on the perimeter who are going to make them pay.” Lopez didn’t get much help, however, as the rest of the Nets combined to shoot 23-for-61 (37.7 percent) from the field, with Johnson scoring 15 points to go with five assists, while Alan Anderson added 13 and Andray Blatche had 11 to go along with eight rebounds.
Lopez leads Nets past Bucks, 90-82
New York Post | Dec 8