Brook Lopez appears to reach breaking point as he plays just 9 minutes in Lakers’ loss to Magic
By Bill Oram
ORLANDO — Brook Lopez once missed all but five games in a season due to a foot injury. Another year, his team won just 12 games. He has failed to see the playoffs six out of his first nine NBA seasons, and all but certainly won’t in his 10th.
And yet, the season currently unfolding is shaping up as Lopez’s most challenging.
He is averaging a career-low 11.8 points while playing just 20.9 minutes per game, another career low. Coach Luke Walton rarely plays him down the stretch of close games and his hopes for another major contract are likely dwindling.
“Brook (is) kind of stone-faced to me,” Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said. “He don’t really show much emotion most of the time when I am around, when I see him. Shoot, who knows?”
That facade appeared to crumble late in the Lakers’ 127-105 loss to the Magic at Amway Center.
When the Lakers fell behind by 28 points in the fourth quarter, Walton signaled for rookie center Thomas Bryant. Lopez, 29, got off the bench to grab a towel, and draped it over his face.
He held his head in his hands, and when he removed the towel, his eyes were red and he massaged them with the towel.
During the next timeout, Lopez left the bench and went back to the locker room. Larry Nance Jr. followed him into the tunnel and returned to the bench before Lopez.
When he returned, Lopez was more composed, and began vigorously clapping for his teammates on the floor.
A Lakers spokesperson later said Lopez went to the bathroom.
His emotion, however, was undeniable. His mounting frustration, according to several people in the organization, has been apparent.
Lopez played just 8:47 against the Magic, his fewest minutes since Dec. 23, 2014, when he was fighting through a lower back strain. On Friday, he […]