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.

Watch Kobe Bryant’s entire retirement-announcement press conference (video)

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Kobe Bryant reflected, told stories and showed his emotions.

For nearly 25 minutes, the Lakers star talked about his pending retirement. It was pretty cool.

Report: Wizards signing Ryan Hollins

Blake Griffin, Ryan Hollins
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Nene hurt his calf. Drew Gooden is banged up. Martell Webster is out for the season.

Those are three players the Wizards expected to play power forward this season.

So, Washington – which has lost four straight – will bring in another big man: Ryan Hollins.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Wizards have a full roster of 15 players. They don’t qualify for a hardship exemption, which a team gets if four players have missed three straight games and will continue to be out. Only Webster and Alan Anderson definitely fit that bill. Gooden, who has missed five straight, might. But it’s unclear both how many of those absences were due to injury and when he’ll return.

So, Washington will have to waive someone to sign Hollins now. It’ll probably be Webster, whose $5,845,250 2016-17 salary is just $2.5 million guaranteed. If he’s out for the year and the Wizards plan to drop him by the summer to clear cap space, why not just do it now?

Hollins is more center than power forward and doesn’t appear to fit well with Marcin Gortat. But at this point, Washington just needs big bodies. Hollins – a nine-year veteran who plays decent interior defense, lacks offensive skill and rebounds poorly for his 7-foot frame – is at least that.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.