Brook Lopez had no idea what to do with himself Sunday in the hours before the Nets faced the Pelicans at Barclays Center.
“Yeah, it’s, um — it’s bizarre, you know?’’ Lopez said in the locker room before tipoff. “Timmy [Walsh, the Nets’ athletic trainer] just said I looked lost when I was walking through the training room. I don’t really know what I’m doing.’’
Lopez didn’t know what to do because he didn’t have to prepare to play in the game. Interim coach Tony Brown said Lopez and Thaddeus Young have been shut down for the remainder of the season. With nothing to play for in the final six games, the Nets decided to sit their top two players to try to “get them to recover from the long, grueling season,’’ Brown said.
Against the injury-decimated Pelicans, who shut down their own star, Anthony Davis, after his surgery weeks ago, the Nets also were without starting point guard Donald Sloan, who was out with an upper respiratory illness. Brown also decided to rest starting forward Bojan Bogdanovic in what ended up being a 106-87 loss, the Nets’ fifth straight defeat.
Sean Kilpatrick came off the bench to lead the Nets with 15 points. Henry Sims and Markel Brown each had 12 and Thomas Robinson had his fourth double-double in a row with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Lopez, who was on the bench in warmups during the game, said Nets general manager Sean Marks called last Tuesday, before the Nets’ 139-105 road loss to the Orlando Magic, to tell him his season would be ending early. Lopez played the first half of that game before Brown told him he wouldn’t play in the second half.
“It wasn’t my favorite game to finish on, really,’’ Lopez said. (Actually, he played his final game Friday night against the Knicks and his twin brother Robin on their 28th birthday.)
Lopez added that Marks’ decision originally put him in a bad mood. “But it was what it was,’’ he said. “I completely understand the situation, and I understand what he’s going for. It’s tough for me not to be on the floor, though.”
Lopez averaged 20.6 points per game, which led the team, and 7.8 rebounds. Young averaged 15.1 points per game and a team-best 9.0 rebounds. Each played in 73 games.
For Lopez, who was plagued by injuries during the previous four seasons, making it through this season fully healthy was a welcome accomplishment.
“Yeah, it was great,’’ said Lopez, who has had multiple foot and ankle surgeries. “It’s something I haven’t seen in a long, long time.’’