Brook Lopez was in a daze even before the first answer came out of his mouth. He had his hands on his hips and was letting out deep sighs.
It was not that he wanted to avoid talking. It was the opposite. Lopez knew that even though his teammates absolved him of all the blame, his ineffectiveness was among the reasons for Wednesday’s 98-91 loss to the Timberwolves.
The common themes from the Nets after being unable to win their third straight game were lack of energy, lack of ball movement and stagnation on offense. It was a message head coach Lionel Hollins delivered in his postgame remarks in private and in the public forum of a press conference.
“It’s tough,” Lopez said. “I’m a little disappointed in myself. I picked up a dumb foul. I did forget my responsibilities on defense down the line and I’m very disappointed in myself tonight.”
After getting 18 points and two dunks Monday, Lopez was held to 10 points in 33:53 against Minnesota. He shot 5-of-14 while the Nets were outscored by 27 with him on the floor. The Timberwolves shot 48.4 percent (32-of-66) while Lopez was on the court and 11-of-16 in the final eight minutes.
“I wasn’t D-ing up,” Lopez said. “It’s not what [Nikola Pekovic] was doing. It was what I wasn’t doing. I wasn’t bottling him up and being my normal self.”
“The guy whipped him,” Hollins said. “You’ve got to give Pekovic credit. He was a man in there and I’m always saying that there’s a badder man than you in the prison and you got to do it every night.”
Lopez was unable to assert himself offensively while also committing two costly fouls in the final minute.
The Nets seemed headed toward victory when Joe Johnson crossed over Andrew Wiggins for a 91-89 lead with 1:28 remaining. But Lopez was called for his third foul40 seconds later.
“Dumb foul,” Lopez said. “We had an opportunity and I killed it.”
“It’s hard to win, especially in crunch time like that,” Johnson said. “We had two costly turnovers and we paid the price tonight.”
Following the timeout, with the Nets down 94-91, Lopez was called for an offensive foul on an inbound play when he shoved Ricky Rubio into Kevin Martin.Thaddeus Young hit the clinching basket and left the Nets to mull what could have been.
“I just think we got stagnant a little bit instead of opening the playbook as far as getting good ball movement and stuck to a few things,” Johnson said.
“It’s not a 1-on-1 game,” Kevin Garnett said. “The onus is on all of us. It’s not just on Brook, the onus is on everybody.”
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.