The Other Lopez Boy
Well now that we know the New Jersey Nets won’t be making the postseason . Lets look at what the other Lopez is doing in the NBA ? It’s not often that you have siblings competing in the same sport at the same time. Though it’s not a rarity but seldom does it happen where the siblings are said to be comparable in talent. In the case of Brook and Robin Lopez , such was the scenario. case.
Both were drafted out of Stanford , with Brook going to the Nets and Robin going to the Phoenix Suns . Both were drafted in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the aforementioned teams. Each has had their share of struggles acclimatizing with their respective teams and to the rigors of the NBA. Now in their sophomore season they’ve begun to make strides and are contributing to their teams. Though in the case of Brook and the Nets those contributions won’t be recognized in terms of anything tangible by way of on-field success for the team . For Robin on the other hand , he and the Suns are proving to be major threat in the Western Conference of the NBA, as they strive for a playoff berth.
Courtesy of New Jersey Record Herald & News
By Al Iannazzone
Boston- As the Nets exchanged high-fives and patted each other’s back after an unexpected job well done, Rasheed Wallace removed his headband and slammed it to the floor before walking off in disgust.
The Celtics didn’t want to be that team, but they were. The Nets were going to break through at some point and get a victory over a good team and that time came Saturday afternoon and that team was the Celtics.
Showing tremendous and surprising poise, the Nets didn’t buckle under the pressure of Boston’s fourth-quarter comeback and a deafening arena. The Nets stood tall down the stretch and finished off a stunning 104-96 victory inside TD Banknorth Garden.
“To finally break through against a good team like this shows us what we’re capable of,” Brook Lopez said after leading the Nets with 25 points.
“This is a big win for us,” said Devin Harris, who celebrated his 27th birthday with 23 points. “Hopefully it’s a building block for us.”
In the other locker room, there was frustration, a feeling the Nets know all too well.
“I got nothing to say,” said Kevin Garnett, who scored 26. “I feel disgusted.”
The Celtics (36-21) were humiliated Thursday, losing by 20 here to Cleveland on national TV, but this tops that.
Playing without Paul Pierce, the Celtics opened a 12-2 lead. They were outplayed badly from there as the Nets (6-52) were more aggressive by far. The Nets took the lead at the end of the first quarter and never relinquished it, building an 18-point edge in the fourth.
Last week, the Nets squandered an 18-point lead in a loss to Memphis, and fourth quarters have been their enemies lately. But they wouldn’t let up this time. Their assertiveness showed from the line, where they took 41 foul shots, 30 more than Boston.
The Nets go for their first two-game winning streak this season – a real possibility – tonight with Washington visiting Izod Center. Four wins in their remaining 24 games and the Nets will avoid matching or setting the record for the most losses in NBA history.
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For the Nets and their entire front office this has been a season which they’d rather no doubt forget. Losing their first 17 games , the team now sits with a 6-52 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Atop of the table within the division are the Boston Celtics (36-21) . For Nets’ President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn and the team’s GM Alex Diaz , this can’t have been what they had envisaged for the team at the start of the season. And it certainly hasn’t helped their cause that the organization is said to be financially ‘cash strapped’
because of the development of the development of the commercial venture which will house the team when they proceed to move to Brooklyn, New York. Bruce Ratner the one time team owner and now a minority stake partner in the team, has done as much as he can to bring the franchise on par with the likes of the New York Knicks , Los Angeles Lakers , Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics as a competitive and financial powerhouse within the NBA. I ought to take that back with regards to the Knicks as they couldn’t spell the word competitive much less play competitive , if you spotted them the letters ‘C’, ‘O’, ‘M’, ‘E’, ‘T’, ‘I’ and ‘V’ ! For Russian energy tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov , who recently acquired a majority stake in the New Jersey Nets, he wants nothing more than success for the organization. And he’ll no doubt do whatever it takes to make sure that becomes a reality for the organization and for its fans.
Nets’ coach Kiki Vandeweghe has struggled to gain any semblance of cohesiveness from the team. And with that ‘ 6-52’ record now becoming a yoke around the team’s very neck.. It’s hard to see what else Vanderweghe and his coaching staff can do at this juncture. There’ve been very few bright spots for the team and the fans to be proud of ! There have been glimpses of what one could expect from the team in the future in the play of Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts , Josh Boone and perhaps the team’s best player , Devin Harris . But it is the immediacy of the ‘here and now’ that is really of importance and not about ‘what might be’, as to the team’s impending future. They may well choose to become a part of the ‘LeBron James’ sweepstakes, once that particular show gets on the road this upcoming off-season. No doubt Lebron will be willing to listen to all offers that’ll be forthcoming his way. One has to remember that, ‘LeBron’ now sees his himself as something of a ‘global commercial icon’ first, rather than as a ‘basketball player’ in the NBA. And if he’s to truly maintain that status, though Cleveland has served him well, it doesn’t match the bright lights and big city atmosphere that can he had in New York and at the same time ‘catch the eye’ of the corporate behemoths of Madison Avenue.
While the malaise of the Jets continues , the Phoenix Suns have quietly gone about their business within the Pacific Division with unassuming confidence under the guidance of their coach Alvin Gentry . And should the team make the playoffs , as I fully feel that they will ! Then it is my belief that Gentry ought to be considered one of the prohibitive favorites for the accolade of NBA Coach of The Year . Quite surprisingly he seems to now have the team playing not only with confidence but showing at times that as and when needed, they can play a modicum of defense. Which has always been the ‘gripe against the team’. It’s one thing to put up 100 points on the scoreboard but it doesn’t help when your opponents put up anywhere between 110-120 points and ends up winning the game. It certainly doesn’t serve you well as the losing team. And it’s something that Gentry’s predecessor Mike D’Antoni didn’t seem to understand.
The biggest surprise to my mind as far as the Suns’ organization goes. It may well be with the firing of D’Antoni and the installing of Gentry as the team’s coach . Steve Kerr as the team’s general manager may not only have saved the Suns’ season but his very own position within the organization. As I felt sure that were they to fail then owner , Robert Sarver , would have ‘no choice’ but ‘to fire’ the much beleaguered executive. Now with the team playing as they are and with wily veteran and two time league MVP, Steve Nash playing as he has been. Then there’s every reason to believe that the team could make some noise in the playoffs. ‘And as Nash goes, so does the team’ .
Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports
Phoenix (AP)—Robin Lopez went to the free-throw line two points from tying the family’s single-game scoring mark.
He didn’t get it, but his career-best 30 points and 12 rebounds were more than enough to help the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 125-112 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.
“I wasn’t even aware of it,” said a smiling Lopez, whose twin brother, Brook, leads the fraternal competition with a 32-point game. “I was just trying to catch (teammate) Goran Dragic’s 32 points.”
Lopez made 13 of 16 shots for the Suns, who beat the Clippers for the seventh straight time.
“To shoot that efficiently tells me I’m doing my job out there,” Lopez said. “That shows how much faith my teammates have in me and my coaches have in me.”
Amare Stoudemire added 20 points and Grant Hill had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Suns, who won for the sixth time in seven games since the All-Star break. Phoenix has won 12 of its past 14 overall.
Eric Gordon scored 25 points, Travis Outlaw had 16 and Craig Smith had 16— 14 in the first half—and for the Clippers, whose three-game winning streak ended.
“They stretched us out pretty good,” Gordon said. “We were playing good defense, then they stretched us out and started knowing down a lot of 3s. We just couldn’t score as much as they did.”
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And while Nash has been playing his customary role , it’d be remiss not to mention that both Amar’e Stoudemire and Robin Lopez have been playing very well for the team. Some might even view Lopez as the ‘heir apparent’ to Stoudemire, should the veteran no be re-signed by the team in the off-season. He becomes a a free agent and can opt out of the final year of his contract which pays him an ‘understated’ $16.97 million . But that asides , it has been the surprising play of the former Stanford Cardinals’ player that has the Suns’ fans rejoicing and hoping that finally this might be their year. As to what might transpire during the postseason , we can only wait to see. But as things are now proceeding it appears that it is the other Lopez boy who seems to be having his day sun while the other seems to be languishing in the Nets own personal form of hell and purgatory all rolled into one.
Somehow this might all seem unfair to some ? One sibling is having the time of his life , while the other can only wish that the Nets could have a life , rather than one of sheer embarrassment and ridicule. At the end of the however , it is what you tend to make of it that in essence defines your character and you also as a person.
Alan Parkins aka tophatal
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes …….’If You Don’t Know Me By Now’