With the hoops world focused on the NCAA title game Monday night, there was just a single NBA game on the docket, which was dominated by Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.
Brook edged his twin brother Robin, scoring a game-high 32 points and pulling down 9 boards in the Nets’ 106-96 win against the visiting and short-handed Portland Trail Blazers (leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge sat out due to a left thumb sprain.)
This was a make-up of a game that was rescheduled due to a late January snowstorm.
“We’re trying to close the door on those other teams, and the only way you can do that is by winning,” coach Lionel Hollins said. […] The Nets certainly are doing that. The win was their fifth straight at home, their seventh in the last eight games and their 11th in the last 14. With the rest of the NBA idle, the seventh-place Nets (36-41) extended their lead to a game over Boston — which holds the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot — two games over Indiana and Miami, and 21/2 games over Charlotte.
Brook Lopez, who earlier in the day was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference player of the week for the second consecutive week, continued his torrid play. He had 32 points and nine rebounds in winning his personal duel with his twin, Robin, also a 7-footer, who started opposite him for the Trail Blazers and had eight points and seven rebounds.
Before the game, Robin Lopez — who is more defensive-minded than Brook — dismissed the player of the week award and jokingly said, “It’s amazing how far you can go with a crappy center.” […] Brook Lopez’s deadpan response in evaluating his performance: “You know, it might have been a fluke.”