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Starting five: Brook needs to rebound

12/19/2013

Brook Lopez made 7-of-11 shots and scored 22 points despite being a game-time decision on Wednesday night.

Yet Lopez was frustrated and disappointed in his return back from an ankle injury that kept him out of two games.

"I felt fine," Lopez said of his return. "I am definitely disappointed in myself though. I felt a little rusty. I was a step slow and I just think I was a step slow more than anything."

Lopez grabbed just five rebounds, committed four turnovers and four fouls. He looked a step slow at times and wasn't nearly enough of a presence on the boards for the Nets, who were outrebounded 51-31. Washington grabbed 19 offensive boards and outscored the Nets 23-3 in second-chance points. That was pretty much the difference in Washington's 113-107 win over the Nets.

The Nets can use more rebounding, particularly from Lopez. When Lopez is aggressive, he can be the difference-maker for the Nets. But he has to provide a major presence for the Nets on the glass. So far, he is averaging six rebounds a game and has yet to grab 10 rebounds in a game so far this season.

"I didn't do a great job of boxing out my guy, whoever it was," Lopez said. "And he kept getting the rebound and scoring."

Lopez did make 8-of-9 free throws and the most important thing is that he played 32 minutes and didn't suffer any setbacks with his ankle.

If Lopez starts rebounding and collecting some double-doubles, the big man will give the Nets another dimension they haven't really had a whole lot of this season.

"We would love for Brook to get a couple more rebounds," Jason Kidd said. "But sometimes on the perimeter, when you are guarding the pick and roll, you are not always underneath the basket to get the rebound. A lot of teams put him in a pick-and-roll situation. I thought he had a great game being out [for two games]. So this is a game for him to build on."

Up now: The Nets let one they felt they should have won get away to the Wizards.

Paul Pierce doesn't care if he starts or keeps coming off the bench.

Up next: Nets practice in East Rutherford.

Net fact: This season, the Nets have had just three double-doubles of the points and rebounds variety. Andray Blatche has two of them and Mirza Teletovic has the other.

Question of the day: What do you think Kidd should do to improve the team's rebounding? Let us know.