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For Lopez, a fitting end to Dwightmare

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At Dwightmare's end, Nets keep NBA's highest scoring center, four first round picks, MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

The Nets are in the playoffs and barring a late season collapse they'll have homecourt advantage. The Lakers continue to struggle in pursuit of the eighth seed, uncertain if they'll face the Spurs, Thunder ... or a long fishing trip.

That's satisfying for Brook Lopez, frustrating for Dwight Howard, the two main components in the "Dwightmare" that never seemed to end. Orlando sent Howard to L.A., where he's proceeded to further ruin his reputation. Lopez? He's now the leading scorer among centers in the NBA and the 12th best scorer in the league overall. He's also in the top five of player efficiency, behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and (barely) Tim Duncan. He's also top 10 in two other measures used by GM's to rank players: wins added and value added.

Fred Kerber talked to Lopez Tuesday about his frustration.

"I ignored all the talk. I just hope I’ve done enough this season to reassure people to believe in me," said Lopez. "I know that every night, I’ve given my best effort. I just always knew what I was capable of doing. I just wanted to show it."

It was not something he talked about, Deron Williams told Kerber, but it had to have an effect.

"It had to be tough on him. He never showed it or acted like it bothered him, but deep down, there’s no way it couldn’t," Williams said. "Being brought up every day in the media, being talked about every day, not knowing if you’re going to be here. It was over a year, really. It had to be tough on him."