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The All-Star break broke Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez.
The Nets big man barely managed to earn a spot representing the East, and didn’t do much to justify his role on the roster with three points in 10 minutes of play in Houston.
And he isn’t looking any better — or getting much more playing time when it counts — since his return.
In the first four games since All-Star weekend, Lopez has failed to put up his signature numbers — averaging only 16 points on 41 percent shooting, down from 18.7 points on 51 percent shooting.
Worse, he also hasn’t found the floor much with the game on the line.
In three of those four games, Lopez only played a combined total of seven seconds in the fourth quarter.
Coach P.J. Carlesimo has opted to let Brooklyn’s most productive player ride the pine in the fourth quarter, subbing for backup big man Andre Blatche due to Lopez’s troubling “All-Star hangover.”
Carlesimo admits the Nets are in a bad spot if the team’s only All Star is best utilized as a seat warmer.
“I created the situation and it’s not a good situation,” Carlesimo told ESPN. “So yes, I worry about it that I need to address it and I worry about it that I need to watch what I do going forward.”
Most troubling for fans is the fact it’s not entirely clear why “Peej” chose to sit the slumping center rather than show some confidence in the big man and let him get back to his old ways with quality time on the floor.
Sure, Blatche has played well in place of Lopez, but he doesn’t command the double teams or defend as well as Lopez. And although the Nets won two games — both against the mediocre Milwaukee Bucks — largely without Lopez in the final period, Brooklyn will need its best players to be on the floor in key moments to make a real run down the stretch.
It’s time to rediscover the seven-footer — he’s the one towering over everyone else on the bench.
Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports-world insider with a middling high school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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