Blatche and Lopez Help Boost Nets in Brooklyn
BROOKLYN—In the third quarter of Tuesday’s 108-98 victory at Barclays Center, with both of his centers already double-digit scorers, Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo sent center Andray Blatche to the scorer’s table – without signaling for starter Brook Lopez to exit.
The duo played out the quarter, with Blatche hitting a putback with 0.3 seconds remaining to push the Nets ahead by two entering the fourth. Resting Lopez to start the final period, Carlesimo waited only three minutes before again sending his starter to form a towering frontline alongside Blatche. The two big men played all but the final 38.2 seconds together as the Nets pulled away.
“I thought their interaction was good,” Carlesimo said. “They both can pass the ball decently and I thought they did a little bit of everything: they scored, they rebounded and they had some assists.”
Lopez finished with a team-high 26 points (10-15 FGs), adding five rebounds and three blocks; Blatche (9-15) posted 18 points, five rebounds and three assists. Overall, they finished the game +4 in 12 minutes.
According to the Web site NBA.com/Stats, the pair have now totaled 73 minutes together, spread across 10 games. In that time, the Nets have outscored opponents by 14 points, while posting a net efficiency rating of +4.9 points per 100 possessions; overall, the team is +0.2 (Off: 103.5; Def: 103.2). Blatche and Lopez have also helped draw fouls at a notably higher rate, earning 7.4 more free-throw attempts per 36 minutes.
Most surprisingly, the duo drives up the team rebounding rate on both ends of the floor. When playing together, Lopez and Blatche have helped the Nets pull down .830 of available defensive rebounds, .476 offensive and .638 overall. Those top the team’s overall rates of .741, .302 and .520, respectively.
“They’re two 7-footers out there at the same time," said Nets point guard Deron Williams. "Well, Dray’s 6-11, but it’s pretty close. They’re long, they take up a lot of space inside, they alter shots, they block shots and they make teams think about it when they come in the lane.”
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