Brook Lopez’s second sprained ankle does not seem as painful as his first, which is why during the morning shootaround he sounded hopeful about playing Monday night against the 76ers.
It turned out the medical staff did not echo those sentiments and head coach Jason Kidd followed that advice by holding Lopez out.
“Brook’s a competitor and he wants to play,” Kidd said. “For the medical staff and myself, I just felt it was a risk if he wasn’t 100 percent and again guys won’t be 100 percent throughout the season, but he wasn’t moving as well as I would have liked.”
Lopez missed his ninth game Monday and the Nets are hoping to improve their play with him on the sidelines. Lopez missed seven games (Nov. 16 to 27) and the Nets won just one of them while often giving up a ton of points in the paint.
In their one win with Lopez out, the Nets outscored Toronto 48-28 in the paint. In their six defeats with Lopez injured, the Nets were outscored by a 256-196 margin.
With Lopez out, Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans split time starting at center but this time Kidd named Kevin Garnett the starting center.
Teletovic gets a look in the starting lineup
The more surprising news to come out of the announcement about Lopez sitting was that Mirza Teletovic getting a start at power forward. It seemed enough of a surprise that Kidd had to repeat his name in a follow-up question.
Teletovic’s second year has gone better than his first when playing time was inconsistent under coaches Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo. It was a fact he voiced during the team’s media day in September and last night marked Teletovic’s first career start.
His start comes two days after he scored 17 points, one shy of his career-high, and knocked down a career-best five 3-pointers at Detroit. Before Friday, he played five minutes against the Clippers and did not get into last Tuesday’s game against Boston.
Friday marked the third time Teletovic played at least 20 minutes. He has shot 16-of-32 in those games.
“Mirza’s played well for us all season,” Kidd said. “The Detroit game has no influence on him starting. He’s been a true professional when called on. He’s playing well and our thing [is] if you play well, we got to reward you and he’s deserved to be able to start tonight.”
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.