Brook Lopez can expect to take more shots – and, hopefully, score more points, in Game 2 vs. Atlanta.
ATLANTA — In the coaching chess match of the playoff series, Lionel Hollins understands his next move – plotted amidst heavy criticism of his team from a Hall of Famer- will be to spring loose Brook Lopez.
The Nets coach was understandably coy about his exact plans ahead of Wednesday’s Game 2, but acknowledged that he will try to adjust for Lopez to get more looks.
The center finished 6-for-7 in Game 1, getting the majority of his 17 points on putbacks and free throws.
“We’re going to try to get Brook more shots, but that’s the game of cat-and-mouse,” Hollins said.
After Monday’s game, NBATV analyst Isiah Thomas seemed to single out Deron Williams for freezing out Lopez. He even suggested Lopez get physical in the locker room.
“Their reluctance to throw the ball inside baffles me,” Thomas said. “As a big man playing for the Brooklyn Nets, I would be so upset with the guards. The big man should go into the locker room and there should be a fight with the little guard. He should grab that little guard and throw him up on the floor and say, ‘Next time, when I’m open, throw me the ball in the paint.'”
Lopez assured he wasn’t going to fight anybody.
“We game-planned against the way they’d adjust to our pick-and-roll offense, so we were meaning to swing the ball and get it away from where they were clogging the lane,” he said, explaining why he took only seven shots.
Mirza Teletovic shed some light on who will determine whether he’ll return for Game 2, saying Monday that it’s up to the coaching staff to decide if they want to risk disrupting chemistry by using a player who has been out since January.
“They have the team they play for the last three months and they’ve been functioning pretty good, and now if they don’t want me to be lagging kind of behind or something like that,” Teletovic said. “So, I mean, it’s their decision. I think they know what they’re doing.”
Teletovic had been medically cleared on Saturday to resume basketball activities following his January diagnosis of blood clots in his lungs. He has since practiced fully twice, looking especially active and efficient during a halfcourt scrimmage Monday.
In Teleotovic’s absence, the Nets opted to give the power forward backup minutes Sunday to Earl Clark, who missed five of his six field goals.
“I’m confident I can go out and play, but the results? I don’t know,” Teletovic said. “To be honest, this is my first injury in 15 years and I have no idea how I’m going to feel when I come on the court. So I think the coaches have more experience than I do and I really try to respect their opinion.”
Two of the Hawks All-Stars are unsure of themselves because of injuries. Paul Millsap, who struggled in Game 1 while missing nine of his 11 shots, has been bothered by a shoulder injury and said Monday he may ditch the compression sleeve to improve his range of motion.
Horford dislocated the pinkie on his shooting hand in Game 1 and cast some doubt about whether he’ll suit up Wednesday. Lopez isn’t buying it.
“”You’re trying to trick me right now,” Lopez said. “I’m not trying to say anything right now. I don’t want him (Horford) to go 10-for-10 on those pop shots. We’re going to play it the same way.”
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