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Scorching Brook Lopez and Nets too hot for depleted Blazers squad, 106-96

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN -- Brook Lopez's twin brother sat on the opposite end of the court as the Brooklyn Nets PA announcer Dave Diamante shouted out in triumph, "The Player of the Week for the second straight week: Broooook Lopez!" It was hours before tip-off that Brook's brother Robin jokingly smack talked about his brother after the accomplishment.

It may not have been Robin's smartest of moves, though. The Brooklyn Nets annihilated the Portland Trail Blazers, 106-96, in a one-sided makeup game that saw Brook Lopez go off for 32 points and nine rebounds. Lopez came into Monday night leading Eastern Conference scorers over the last two weeks at roughly 25 points per game on 58.5% from the field. Brook has scored 30 or more points in six of the last 11 games. Opponents really have no answers for the big fella.

Oh yeah, and blabbermouth Robin was held to just eight points and seven rebounds.

"Well, you know it might have been a fluke, but I was just out there trying to play basketball and when i saw him go for that dunk, I knew I had to hack him a little bit," Lopez said. "Just trying to protect our guys even though they're not here -- the BrooklyKnight and Sly and Mini Sly -- yeah, I miss those guys. I wouldn't mind having them back around. I had to protect my guys. You know this is our home court."

The Nets have won five straight at home.

You'd think a 50-win team like Portland would put up a better fight, but after all, they were stuck with a depleted squad with LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Chris Kaman all sitting out. The weight was completely on Damian Lillard's back.

Lillard led Portland with 36 points on 14-of-26 shooting. He brought Portland back into the game late in the fourth, cutting the once 22-point deficit down to six. The Nets prevailed, thanks to Lopez and also their motivated point guard, Deron Williams, who nailed a huge three-pointer to put Brooklyn back up double digits with 3:40 remaining. Thaddeus Young sealed the deal with a hammer slam over Meyers Leonard. As Ian Eagle would say, "IT WAS A MAN'S JAM!'

D-Will was zig-zagging around Portland defenders causing the Brooklyn crowd to "ooh ahh" all night long. In the midst of that, he was facilitating the offense and putting the ball in basket at ease. He finished with 24 points, 10 assists and six rebounds on 8-of-18 shooting.

Thaddeus Young, as per usual, was also a force for Brooklyn, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot. The guy really does everything.

The Nets committed a total of seven turnovers, all coming from the bench. It's the first time in Nets' history that the starters finished with zero turnovers and first time since 2008 that any team has done that.

"We've just been doing a good job of playing at our pace and taking our time, being patient, and moving the ball, sharing the ball, and it's easy when you've got D-Will playing the way he is," Brook said after.

Here's how they took control:

To change things up a bit, the Nets struggled in the first quarter but strived in the second, something we've rarely seen from the squad this year. The second unit took control behind Bojan Bogdanovic (15 points) as the Nets shot 11-of-22 and outscored the Blazers 32-13 in the quarter. They truly are the NBA's most confusing team.

Instead of folding, they built on the lead and eventually went up by 22 in the third quarter, their largest of the night. They scored 52 points in the paint and shot 46.2% from three.

Meyers Leonard played well in Aldridge's spot, scoring 17 points and 15 rebounds in 36 minutes. Otherwise, CJ McCollum added 15 and Arron Affalo 10. The Portland bench combined for only eight points on a night where their contributions were extremely crucial. No matter for them, though, as they've already clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Nets are now 36-41 and have a one game advantage over Boston for the seventh seed with five games remaining. They're also now 2 games above the Indiana Pacers who stand in ninth place. It still won't be easy, however, as the Nets will face off against Atlanta Wednesday and then the Milwaukee Bucks this Sunday night.

"I just think that with Brook and Deron, they are both healthy, healthier as the season has gone on. They have more confidence in what they can and can't do," Hollins said."Brook has stepped up, Deron has stepped up, and Thaddeus has just been good for us since he has been here. He is just kind of a garbage man."

"I thought that Bogie came off the bench and gave us some superb minutes. We had some matchup issues with quickness but we overcame that. We did a good job in the pick and roll, of just getting up and keeping the ball out of the paint for the most part, but you got to tip your hat off to Lillard."

Lopez's numbers keep astonishing.  Here's what Elias Sports Bureau noted post-game...

Brook Lopez continued his hot streak, scoring 32 points in the Nets win over the short-handed Trail Blazers. Lopez has scored 288 points (26.2 per game) and made 61 percent of his field-goal attempts in his last 11 games, in which Brooklyn has gone 9-2. No other NBA player this season has averaged 25 points per game with a 60 percent success rate on field goals over an 11-game span, and the other player in the Nets' NBA history who had a stretch like that is Mike Gminski, who scored 281 points and made 61 percent of his shots over 11 games late in the 1985-86 season.

"I hadn’t seen those moves in the beginning of the season – twisting and finishing backhanded and all that stuff, up and unders,"  Hollins said of what he's now seeing from his center. "You have to be healthy to do that. And you have to be confident in your health to do that. And I think he has both right now."

For more on the Portland Trail Blazers, check them out at Blazer's Edge.