Carlesimo Realizes Mistake in Benching Lopez
When the final minutes arrived Sunday night and the Nets’ offense went to pieces, it was easy point to the absence of Joe Johnson, their dynamic, do-everything shooting guard. Johnson was resting a sore heel, robbing the Nets of their No. 2 scorer.
More vexing was the absence of the No. 1 scorer.
Brook Lopez spent the fourth quarter on the bench — for the third time in four games — while his teammates sputtered to a 76-72 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Of all the moves made by P.J. Carlesimo since his ascension to head coach, none are more puzzling than his sudden lack of faith in Lopez to close out games.
Lopez is the Nets’ most reliable offensive option, averaging 18.7 points and shooting 51.1 percent from the field. He has been their defensive anchor, averaging 2.1 blocks. Those statistics propelled Lopez to his first All-Star Game this month. The benchings have all come since then.
Carlesimo acknowledged his error Monday, telling reporters: “I created the situation, and it’s not a good situation. I worry about it that I need to address it, and I worry about it that I need to watch what I do going forward.”