Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets

Brook Lopez returns to Nets lineup after missing seven games due to injury

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Brook Lopez returned to the Nets starting lineup on Friday night against the Pistons, after missing the last seven games with a foot injury.

Brooklyn struggled with Lopez out, losing five of those seven contests.

It appears that Lopez will have a minutes limit initially to see how he responds to the activity, and to make sure there’s no chance of re-aggravating the injury. It also doesn’t appear as though Lopez will be held out of back-to-back situations.

From Mike Mazzeo of

Nets coach Avery Johnson said Lopez will “probably play no more than half the game.” Johnson is not ruling Lopez out of Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls.

“We’ll see how he recovers,” Johnson said. “Then we’ll talk about tomorrow after tonight’s game.”

Lopez is averaging 18.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks on the season, but the points and rebounds were essentially replaced by the surprising play of Andray Blatche, who got the start while Lopez was out.

Defensively, however, the Nets were far worse without Lopez. They gave up over nine more points per game and allowed opponents to shoot five percentage points better from the field in his absence.

Gregg Popovich resting himself for Spurs game at Sacramento

Gregg Popovich
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Gregg Popovich said he wouldn’t coach in July.

Apparently, he’s taking off part of October, too.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

It’s not that surprising to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw staying home. Veterans miss preseason games all the time just to rest. With the Spurs, it happens even in the regular season.

But it’s still a little strange to see the head coach sit out, even though Popovich also did it last year.

It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.

Dumped by Heat, Shabazz Napier hits game-winning 3-pointer against Miami (video)

Shabazz Napier, C.J. Watson

After only one season, the Heat gave up on former first-rounder Shabazz Napier – sending him to the Magic in a salary dump.

Napier got some revenge by hitting the game-winning 3-pointer in Orlando’s 100-97 win over Miami.

It’s only the preseason, but Napier had to feel great about that shot.