Brook Lopez Enjoys 1st All-Star Game
HOUSTON—Brook Lopez is a big man. Playing in his first All-Star Game, a contest often dominated by the smalls and the swingmen, Lopez's first offensive touch came in the second quarter. Set up on the left block, with Lakers center Dwight Howard defending him, Lopez – back to the basket – faked left and spun over his right shoulder, drawing a foul on the fadeaway attempt.
Lopez split the free throws, later earning a return trip in the fourth on a layup, finishing with a final line of three points, five rebounds and three assists in 10 1/2 minutes as the East lost to the West, 143-138, at Toyota Center in Houston on Sunday. The experience culminated an action-packed weekend for Lopez, also a participant in Saturday's Sears Shooting Stars.
"It’s crazy, you know?" Lopez said. "I was definitely geeking out when I saw my jersey in the locker room, playing out there next to guys like that, the best players in the league. It was really cool. I enjoyed myself. It was a lot of fun."
Mirthful elements abounded, perhaps none moreso than Lopez launching the three he promised Nets teammate Gerald Wallace would be hoisted. With Sixers guard Jrue Holiday streaking toward the right wing in transition, Lopez trailed the play down the middle of the court. Positioned at the top of the key when a bailout pass arrived after Holiday was trapped, Lopez measured up and fired.
The shot hit right rim and fell away into Western Conference hands. It would prove to be Lopez's only field-goal attempt.
"Man," Lopez said, laughing. "I know I had to do it, because I told G I would. I thought it had a chance. I got a good look – it didn’t go down, but I was confident."
The 24-year-old has right to be, after becoming the Brooklyn Nets' first All-Star by posting a season line of 19.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and .520 shooting in 30.3 minutes per game (46 games). Lopez's PPG and BPG averages represent team highs. His Player Efficiency Rating of 25.87 ranks fifth in the league, according to ESPN.com; the catch-all stat measures him better than every NBA player save for LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Tim Duncan.
Sunday's game served as the culmination of a year-long recovery from a broken foot suffered in the final preseason game of last season's lockout-compressed schedule. Lopez, who played only five February games a season ago, has developed into the team's most steady player at both ends of the floor, blocking and contesting shots while pulling his per-36-minute rebounding numbers back to the higher averages of his first two seasons.
"It's been great," Lopez said. "I heard a lot of wise words from different guys and there's a lot of motivation to come back in future years."
View our All-Star Game Photo Gallery for more from Sunday's event.