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He's No Trade Bait! Lopez Goes Off For 26, Leads Nets to 102-80 Victory over the Wizards


Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brook Lopez should be mentioned in trade rumors more often.

Less than 12 hours after 'serious' trade talks ended with Lopez still the property of the Brooklyn Nets, the team hopped on Lopez's back and embarrassed the Wizards, 102-80 in Washington. He was an absolute machine in the paint and around the arc ... and the Washington Wizards had no answers for him.

Lopez was plagued by foul trouble in the first half, scoring only one point in five minutes of action. Things turned positive, though, after halftime. The Nets were up by three heading into halftime, but Lopez;s 11-point, 4-for-9 shooting third quarter gave the Nets a 28-18 scoring advantage. They worked their three point lead up to 15 by quarter's end.

Lopez finished the second half with 25 points on 8-of-14 from the field and 10-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. Whether it increased his trade value or was simply a great game, Lopez's 26-point night was a thing of beauty for the organization.

Brook wasn't the only star for Brooklyn tonight, though.

Jarrett Jack played one of his best games as a Brooklyn Net with 24 points, six rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block in 34 minutes. Similar to Lopez, Jack also scored 11 points in the third quarter -- the two combining for 22 of the 28 points scored in that period. He shot an astounding 11-of-17 on the night.

In most games this season, the Nets would hold a decent lead -- only to squander it and lose the game. Not tonight. They had a 15 point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Jack and Lopez continued to anchor the Nets through the fourth. They hit 100 points after scoring their 29th point in the quarter, and notched their largest lead of the night at 24.

Finally, the Nets snapped their seven game losing streak. And finally, basketball looked like fun for the Nets.

The Nets outscored the Wizards 59-40 in the second half behind 46% shooting from the field and 33% shooting from three. Washington on the other hand shot 42.5% from the field and committed 19 turnovers, with Brooklyn scoring 16 points off the turnovers.

Not to mention, Brooklyn attempted 31 free throws on the night.

Moreover, it was the defense that got the job done. The team numbers for Washington speak volume, but the fact that only two players scored in double figures speaks even louder volume. John Wall was the Wizards' leading scorers with 13 points and six assists while Kris Humphries chipped in 12 and eight rebounds.

Paul Pierce, who praised himself prior to tip-off, went for eight points and six rebounds on 2-of-5 shooting.

Mason Plumlee finished with his tenth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Pierce's replacement Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting with 10 of the points coming in the first half. He only attempted two shots in the second half. It was his fourth straight double digit game, the first time he's done that in his short career.

Asked about his seven-footer's game, Lionel Holllins initially said, "Brook played good," then joked about Lopez's matchup with Marcin Gortat. "He had a bad matchup where he was flat quicker than the other guy. I know that's an amazing statement."

He added, "you guys think he played well because he scored a lot of points, but I think he played well because he came out aggressively and confidently and played freely — that’s how I like to see him play."

Lopez and Jack spoke post-game about the day's trade rumors.

"I've been on a block a lot. I don't pay attention to that stuff," Lopez told Sarah Kustok, then adding in the locker room, "I like being here. I’ve been here my whole career. I’m kind of partial to it now.".

"I don't want anybody else. I want to finish with who I started with," said Jack.

What does this mean? For the team, it shows how high their ceiling is. If Lopez -- or one of their major stars is on, they can give any team in the East a tough time. See ya tomorrow, Washington.

Quarter by quarter summary:

First quarter ... The Brooklyn Nets looked good to start the game after hitting their first four shots and jumping out to a 10-4 lead. But the inevitable downfall was predictable, once again. The Nets finished the quarter 2-for-14 after the scorching hot start and their offense was suddenly extinct. The Wizards weren't playing great, but they dug out a 9-0 run to cap off the first quarter and held a 24-18 lead.

Second quarter ... Things buckled down on the defensive side of the ball for Brooklyn. They held the Wizards to just 16 points in the quarter while scoring 25 points in the quarter on 11-for-22 shooting. They started the quarter on a 16-6 run and stayed consistent on the defensive end throughout.

Brooklyn's decent first half may be attributed to their 3-of-7 shooting from three, despite Joe Johnson's 2-of-8 performance in the half. Bojan Bogdanovic picked up his slack, though. Bogey led all scorers in the half with 10 points and four rebounds on 3-of-7 shooting and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He seemed to always be in the right spot at the right time.

Brook Lopez, subject of trade rumors of late, played just five minutes after picking up three quick fouls in the half.

For Washington, zero players were in double figures, but a variety of 10 scored to contribute to their 44% shooting. John Wall was held to just two points on 1-of-3 shooting.

Score at the half: Nets 43, Wizards 40.

Third quarter ... The Nets answered their hot second quarter with an even better third quarter, especially behind Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack. After a first half plagued by foul trouble, Lopez scored 11 points in the third quarter on 4-for-9 shooting. Jarrett Jack also scored 11 points in the quarter, while Mason Plumlee chipped in five but notched his 10th double-double of the season. Brooklyn went on a 16-3 run to help them grab their largest lead of the night at 15. They outscored the Wizards 28-18 in the quarter and led, 71-58 heading into the fourth.

Fourth quarter ... Things only got better for the Nets in the fourth. Behind the cool and consistent offense from Lopez and Jack, the Nets jumped out to a 14-8 advantage in the quarter, giving them their largest lead of the night at 19 with five minutes remaining. From that point on, finally, the game was over and the Nets' seven game losing streak was snapped.

Final score: Nets 102, Wizards 80.

For more on the Washington Wizards, check them out at Bullets Forever.