Brook-lyn comes through to beat Bucks


Good things always seem to happen whenever Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez touches the ball.

Lopez, who came into Saturday night's game ranked third in the NBA in points per touch, took advantage of Milwaukee's depleted frontcourt, scoring a season-high 32 points in the Nets' 90-82 victory over the Bucks at Bradley Center.

"That's Brook. That's who he is," Nets coach Jason Kidd told reporters in Milwaukee. "He's a guy who demands attention and he's seen a lot of double teams in his young career and he's making all the right plays."

Lopez shot 11-for-13 from the field and went 10-for-11 from the free-throw line. In 40 minutes, he grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists.

"My guys just did a good job of moving without the ball, cutting, setting screens and occupying that amount of the floor to keep me open," Lopez told the YES Network. "And like they always do, they gave me great passes to set me up so I got some easy looks inside."

With Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia out, the Nets made a point of getting the ball to Lopez inside. He had 20 of his points in the first half on 7-for-8 shooting. His teammates combined for 19 points and shot 7-for-31.

"Well, I didn't know that we weren't shooting the ball well, I just knew that Brook was going, so I thought we were shooting a high percentage," Kidd said.

The Nets, losers of 12 of their previous 15 coming in, are 6-14 at the season's quarter pole.

It's not where they expected to be. They've still yet to win consecutive games -- and this victory over the worst team in the Eastern Conference won't mean much unless they can string some W's together.

"It's early," Kidd said. "We have to turn the page and look at what we did and we didn't do well tonight so we can get better."

The Nets did plenty of things well Saturday night. Offensively, they got the ball down low in half-court sets and allowed Lopez and Joe Johnson (15 points, five assists) to facilitate out of the post. They had just eight turnovers and outscored the Bucks in the paint, 44-30.

"We're gonna slow it down, try to get the ball inside, and then work in and out," Kidd said.

Defensively, after allowing 224 points in their previous two games, they mixed up their schemes and coverages -- going zone on occasion -- and established new season-lows for points allowed (82) and opponents' field-field goal percentage (41.1).

"[Our defense is] absolutely getting better each day," Lopez said. "When we put in the work and come out and talk to each other and trust each other it's great."

Trailing 40-39 at the half, the league's worst third-quarter team took control in the third, outscoring the Bucks 26-19 in the quarter.

"We're not really talking about the third quarter, we're talking about playing with a purpose for 48 minutes, and we played with a purpose tonight," Kidd said.

In the fourth, Brooklyn turned to Lopez, Johnson and Kevin Garnett (0-for-7 before making two huge field goals in the final stanza) to seal the deal. After Milwaukee got within six, Lopez dunked and Garnett hit a 19-footer to give the Nets an 88-78 lead with 1:42 left.

Johnson ultimately delivered the knockout punch when he drained a turnaround jumper out of an isolation set with 43 seconds remaining.

Deron Williams (ankle), who has missed the last nine games due to injury, is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics.

The Nets are going to need him to be the player he was in the second half of last season if they're going to turn things around.

But their slow and methodical gameplan is going to remain the same.

"It doesn't change," Kidd said. "This is who we are. We have to get the ball inside. And it's also going to be a process getting Deron coming back and getting him used to the guys, but also using him in positions that he can be successful."