Brook Lopez out a while longer as CT scan reveals another “small crack”

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On the list of guys who you should feel bad for regarding this season, Brook Lopez has to be one of the bigger candidates. Imagine if your job kept working with you to get you back at work from an injury, but you knew the only reason they were is that they want to use your efforts as part of a deal to acquire someone else to do your job. So you’re injured, trying to get back to work, and yet all of your efforts are only considered assets to be used to acquire your replacement. That’s just not cool.

But it’s the situation for Brook Lopez and on top of all that, the guy just cannot get healthy. After suffering a fracture in his foot that kept him out for most of the season, Lopez then went down with an ankle just days after he returned. Now, when he should be getting back after ducking being sent to Orlando or a third team in a move for Dwight Howard, a CT scan found another “crack” or “line” (read: fracture” that was caused during his sprain. From the New York Post:

Additional tests on the Nets center, who has missed all but five games this season, found a small line or crack resulting from the ankle sprain he endured after coming back from a broken foot. Lopez’s return to active duty was immediately pushed back at least two more weeks. General manager Billy King said Lopez would be evaluated at that time.

“Brook had another CT scan and in looking at it, the doctors noticed a little line that’s healing, but hasn’t completely healed, and so we’re going to keep him out for two more weeks and re-evaluate then,” King said. “It just hasn’t completely healed.

“He has no pain whatsoever.’’ … He has no pain whatsoever but it’s just we’re protecting a young fella that has a long career ahead of him.’’

via With Brook Lopez sidelined at least another two weeks, the New Jersey Nets fall to the Atlanta Hawks, 93-84, on Friday night –

Nets Daily points out that this wasn’t part of the original fracture but instead part of his sprain. So that’s great, right? … Sigh.

The Nets honestly need to shut Lopez down for the rest of the season. Not only does he need to get healthy, not only will it help with any deal they sign to keep him as a restricted free agent (which they’re going to need in any trade for Howard and especially need if they can’t get Howard), but they need to tank out this season. And not like Golden State or Portland need to tank. Those are “it would be for the best to tank.” The Nets, because they traded a first-round pick for Gerald Wallace, need to drop into the top-three so the protections on the pick allow them to keep their first-rounder.

So to review:

Their franchise center who they wanted to use to acquire the best franchise center is out two more weeks at least due to a fracture found after a sprain after a foot fracture, which is OK because they need to tank in order to keep their pick they sent to Portland for Gerald Wallace in a deadline panic trade after the franchise center they really want decided to stay with his team for another year.

/Clown music plays.

I really hope next year is an All-Star year for Lopez. He deserves it after all the crap he’s had to put up with this season.

James Harden scores 34, Rockets hold off Timberwolves 129-120

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden had 34 points and 12 assists, and Houston held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 129-120 on Sunday night for the Rockets’ 26th win in 28 games.

The West’s top team led by as many as 25 before the Timberwolves, holding on for dear life in a tightening playoff race, pulled within five in the fourth. The loss dropped the Wolves into the eighth playoff spot after they started the day in a three-way tie for fifth.

Harden had 11 points in the final 6:34, including a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left that effectively secured the win.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela each had 16 points for the Rockets.

Jeff Teague led Minnesota with 23 points, Andrew Wiggins had 21, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Jamal Crawford each added 20.

The Wolves got a burst of energy after a fourth-quarter scuffle between Gorgui Dieng, Paul and Gerald Green. Green was ejected for coming to Paul’s defense after a frustrated Dieng pushed him down after a foul. With the pumped-up crowd chanting “Gor-Gui!,” Derek Rose had back-to-back layups to pull the Wolves to 109-102. But Paul hit a jumper with Crawford in his face, and Harden easily drove past Dieng for a layup to give the Rockets some breathing room.

Minnesota’s 19-6 run made it 115-110 with 3:58 to play before Trevor Ariza hit a 3, and the Rockets were able to answer every Wolves bucket to hold off the rally.

The game was seemingly over by halftime; Houston shot 63 percent, hit 11 3-pointers and led by as many as 24 in the first half while turning the ball over only three times. Harden had 10 assists in the first half, when the Wolves were as close as three before Houston reeled off a 12-0 run and didn’t allow Minnesota to recover.


Jimmy Butler targeting return to Timberwolves before end of season

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Jimmy Butler could return to the court for the Minnesota Timberwolves before the end of the regular season, if he stays on track with his rehabilitation from knee surgery.

Butler spoke to reporters Sunday for the first time since the meniscus injury he suffered Feb. 23 at Houston . He confirmed an initial recovery estimate of four to six weeks. Even on the long end of that timetable, he’d likely have two games with the Timberwolves before the postseason.

Butler said he’s confident in both his ability to heal in time and the team’s ability to hang on to a spot in the playoffs. The Wolves entered their game against the Rockets in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, but no room for a slump.

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Gerald Green ejected for pushing Gorgui Dieng into stands (VIDEO)

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I don’t know why everyone in the NBA is so geeked this weekend. Coaches are getting fined, referees are throwing dudes out left and right. Maybe it’s because most of us recently saw the sun for the first time in five months, although I couldn’t tell you for certain.

As the Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets went head-to-head on Sunday, something had players on both sides itching. Early in the fourth quarter, Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng got into it with Houston’s Chris Paul and Gerald Green.

The incident came as Dieng was being defended by Paul in the low post. Paul was whistled for a foul while trying to get the ball away from Dieng, but even after the whistle blew the Rockets guard did not stop trying to get the ball. Dieng responded by pushing Paul, who fell to the ground as if someone cut the strings on him.

That prompted another whistle from the refs, and a crowd of players ensued. Green rushed to push Dieng, sending the Timberwolves center into the stands.

When the scene settled, Dieng was issued a technical foul and Green was ejected.

After the game, Dieng told reporters he thought Paul’s constant digging for the ball was a cheap shot, so he responded in kind.

Minnesota, energized, tried to make a late push on the top team in the Western Conference but came up just short. Houston beat the Timberwolves, 129-120.

Alvin Gentry, Stan Van Gundy fined $15,000 each for criticizing officials

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All is not right between NBA players, coaches, and the referees. What else is new?

After contentious games on Saturday night, both Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry expressed their opinions about what they felt was a poor officiating.

Van Gundy — whose team lost to the Portland Trail Blazers as they continued on to their 12th straight win — complained that his players were being “screwed” as they were knocked down, hammered, and hit. Gentry was especially infuriated after a late foul call went against his team as James Harden was hit on the hand while shooting a 3-pointer.

Now, the NBA has announced that both coaches have been fined $15,000 each for public criticism of officials.

Things were slated to get better between the NBRA and NBPA after the All-Star break. The two sides were supposed to have a meeting which discussed some of the more concerning trends that players and coaches have publicly complained about this year. That meeting got moved up to December, with more talks to come later. It’s not clear if they’ve done any good.

Right after All-Star Weekend guys like LeBron James were still making waves about how they are being officiated. Coaches like Doc Rivers continue to openly complain about the referees and draw fines. Van Gundy and Gentry are just the latest additions to the list, and it’s unlikely they’ll be the last before the season ends.

Hell, the end of the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors was just about as bad as we’ve seen all year. In that game, Raptors coach Dwane Casey was ejected after a comment made by a fan sitting near the floor was incorrectly attributed to him.

The NBA lost a lot of veteran officials due to retirement in the changeover to this season, and the transition has been rough. They’re going to need to figure some things out over the summer. I expect bigger announcements about those efforts to come out after the NBA Finals as a means to restore public faith in the officiating crews.