The Nets just cannot catch a break. Well, not a good one.
Brook Lopez – their quality starting center and the anchor of their proposed trade package with Orlando for Dwight Howard — has a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his foot and will have surgery on it Friday, the team announced.
No time frame for his returns is yet set, however the Nets think he could be back within six weeks, reports Adrain Wojnarowski of Yahoo. That seems wildly optimistic, other players who have had this type of situation are usually out for at least three months.
The timing matters because the trade deadline is March 15. The Nets were one of three teams Howard said he would sign an extension with (the Lakers and the Mavericks are the others) and so long as the are on that list the Nets have a chance. But to ge a deal done now will likely require multiple teams (it already did, that just got more complex).
There are other concerns for the Nets, too. No Lopez — especially if he is out for the season — is going to make it much harder to keep Deron Williams happy and get him to sign an extension and lead the Nets into Brooklyn next year.
The injury happened in the first half of Wednesday’s preseason game between the Nets and Knicks, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. It didn’t seem that severe and Lopez played through it, only postgame X-rays determined the severity.
This really sets an already struggling Nets team back because Lopez was key to their offense. Last season the a 23-year-old center averaged 20.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Lopez had not missed one game in his first three years in the league.
Bondy adds that Nets GM Billy King is not looking for an immediate replacement. Right. He will be soon enough. Although right now he is probably still in shock.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.