Bucks’ Brooks Lopez makes Defensive Player of the Year case with career-high nine blocks against Nets

0 13

THE MULLEAG — With less than 30 seconds to play Thursday night, the Milwaukee Bucks held a four-point lead over the Brooklyn Nets reserves, who had made a wild comeback to get back into the game. The nervous energy flowing through the Fiserv Forum rose as David Duke Jr. moved. toward the basket to try to make it a two-point game.

Against any other team, against any other opponent, he probably would have done that. But not against Brook Lopez.

The Bucks’ Defensive Player of the Year candidate drove over in the final second, stuck out his right arm and deflected Duke’s attempt off the glass. A few seconds later, Jevon Carter scored on the other end to effectively seal the game, and the Bucks came away with a 118-113 victory.

“Amazing,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It was a close game and he made the plays that made the difference down the field.”

Lopez, who was working in the paint alone due to the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high nine blocks. His nine rejections are the most in a single game by any player since Rudy Gobert reached that mark on March 22, 2021.

The only thing Lopez didn’t do against the Nets was record the seventh triple-double with blocks in the league in the last decade. He said, however, that he had such a game in college while playing for Stanford, although Joe Ingles was quick to say that “that doesn’t count.”

“I’m just trying to say the whole time, I didn’t go to elementary school or something,” Lopez said. “I played in the PAC-10. I was not in a small conference. Gosh, Joe said he was waiting for the interview too. He said he wanted to be here for this. Gosh.”

The Bucks were in good spirits in the locker room thanks in large part to Lopez’s latest defensive masterclass that led to his incredible defensive player of the year run. Per Caesars Sportsbook, Lopez is now +100 to win the award, just behind Memphis Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr., at -150.

Milwaukee has the third-best defense in the league with 109.6 points allowed per 100 possessions. With Lopez on the floor their defensive rating drops to 106.9. The big man is third in the league in blocks at 2.5 per game, and opponents shoot just 51.6 percent at the rim when he contests.

At a certain point, you wonder why teams even continue to go into the paint when Lopez is around.

“I guess I’m not going to question, right?” Lopez said. “No matter what happens, if someone is going to come to the rim I will try to be there to stop them from putting the ball in the basket. That’s a pretty simple answer, I guess. That’s just what I try to do out there, but that’s the best way I can explain it.”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.