Author: Brett Pollakoff

Brooklyn Nets V Portland Trail Blazers

Brook Lopez becomes first player in NBA this season to be named Player of the Week in consecutive weeks


The Nets are currently in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings, and while nothing is yet guaranteed, they seem primed to make the playoffs.

It wasn’t at all like this for the majority of the season, and the recent play of Brook Lopez is a huge reason the Nets have been so formidable as of late, going 11-3 over their last 14 games.

Lopez has been posting 30-point games on a regular basis; per Nets PR, he’s had six of them since March 1, which trails only Russell Westbrook (10) and James Harden (9) during that span.

He’s been recognized for his efforts by being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for his second straight week — something no other player has been able to accomplish this season.

From the official release:

Lopez led the Nets to a 3-1 week behind team-leading averages of 20.8 points (sixth in the conference), 10.3 rebounds (fourth in the conference) and 2.0 blocks (tied-fifth in the conference).  Lopez shot better than 50 percent in all four contests, and ranked seventh in the East for the week with a field goal percentage of 59.4. He recorded two point-rebound double-doubles, including a 30-point, 17-rebound outing during a 114-109 win over the Toronto Raptors on April 3.

Lopez’s late-season surge is good news/bad news for the Nets.

In the short term, they may make the playoffs, which is always the goal in Brooklyn — they don’t own the rights to any draft picks in the near future, so tanking doesn’t help, and continuing to be a playoff team will help build a strong fan base that hasn’t yet materialized.

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In the future, however, it may mean that Lopez becomes too expensive to retain in free agency. He has a player option for $16.7 million for next season, and though that may seem like a lot, he can opt out of it to secure more guaranteed dollars on a long-term deal.

If that’s the route he chooses, it would likely mean he ends up playing somewhere else.

Paul George scores 13 points in season debut with Pacers (VIDEO)

Paul George, James Ennis

With only one game on Monday night’s schedule, it’s worth revisiting the best moment from Sunday’s action.

Paul George returned to the Pacers’ lineup for the first time this season, after suffering a leg fracture during a USA Basketball exhibition in las Vegas last summer.

He scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting in 15 minutes of action off the bench, and while there was some rust to shake off as expected, he looked comfortable enough to make us believe that it won’t be long until he returns to his former All-Star self.

The Pacers are fighting for the final playoff spot in the East, and are currently a game back of the Celtics with five games left in the regular season.

Nets’ Thaddeus Young throws it down over Blazers’ Meyers Leonard (VIDEO)

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets

The Nets’ win over the Blazers was the NBA’s only contest on this night, and this was perhaps its best highlight.

Thaddeus Young cleared enough space to go up and over Meyers Leonard for a powerful slam, one which put his team up by 13 points with three minutes to play.

Brooklyn won 106-96, to remain in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

[via The Brooklyn Game]

Report: If Andrea Bargnani will sign for veteran’s minimum, ‘he’ll surely be a Knick next season’

Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks

The Knicks have largely gotten nothing out of the trade they made with the Raptors to acquire Andrea Bargnani, but it’s now being speculated, just as New York might be able to free itself from the embarrassment, that the team may find it in its heart to re-sign him if the price is right.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The Knicks will consider bringing Bargnani back because of his offensive talent, but aren’t planning to use their cap space to do so. If they can get him back for the veteran’s minimum, he’ll surely be a Knick next season. But another team may outbid them on the free-agent market.

“He’s an extremely talented player and the injuries limited him reaching his ceiling,’’ Fisher said. “Whatever the future holds, the way he’s finishing the season is not only showing us, but other teams as well, he’s a very capable player at this point and trying to prove that to everyone, including us. If he’s back, that’s great. If not, he’ll do great no matter the situation.’’

This comes after Bargnani posted 25 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots in a win over … the Sixers.

New York traded three draft picks for Bargnani — a a first-round pick in 2016, and second-round selections in 2014 and 2017. That alone is reason enough to let Bargnani go at the conclusion of this season; any reminder of such a one-sided deal should be jettisoned, at all costs.

While the Knicks will certainly need to round out next season’s roster with minimum salary players, letting Bargnani go in free agency, no matter how well he plays in the final few games of the regular season against the league’s bottom-feeders, is the right way to go in order to move on from the team’s disastrous recent past.

Brandon Knight likely to miss remainder of season for Suns

Phoenix Suns v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Suns traded two-thirds of their talented backcourt contingent at this season’s trade deadline, in part because the front office believed the players they had in place were selfish.

But the moves were also made with an eye toward the future.

Once Goran Dragic said he wouldn’t re-sign as an unrestricted free agent this summer, his fate in Phoenix was somewhat sealed. Dealing for Brandon Knight  — a restricted free agent after this season, and one the Suns could retain by matching any offer he might receive — theoretically placed the franchise in a more certain situation.

But Knight has struggled with injuries since coming to Phoenix, and it now appears as though he’ll end his first year there missing more games than he was able to participate in.

From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

Brandon Knight’s Suns season barely even started and now it appears to be shutting down.

Knight is not expected to play again this season for the Suns due to a heel bone bruise associated with the left ankle sprain that he suffered on March 9. Knight will not join the Suns on their four-game trip that starts with a Tuesday night game at Atlanta. When the Suns return, the only remaining game will be an April 14 season finale against the Los Angeles Clippers that Knight is not expected to play.

“It’s a tough situation,” Knight said. “If it feels better, we’ll see what happens but I’m in no rush to come back and make any worse. You can’t just keep pounding on a bruise and have it get better.”

This season was done for the Suns once they traded Dragic and Isaiah Thomas; where the Knight injury hurts them is in terms of what may happen this summer.

Knight only managed to appear in 11 games for Phoenix, and his averages were down significantly from what he tallied in Milwaukee as a go-to member of the starting lineup, in similar minutes per contest.

Phoenix will have a decision to make where Knight is concerned, especially if other teams come calling with offers that are based on his time in Milwaukee, rather than his injury-plagued time with the Suns in the second half of the season.