Struggling Nets missing Brook Lopez
Help might be on the way for the Nets.
Losers of four straight, the team might welcome back center Brook Lopez from a foot injury that's kept him out for the past five games.
Lopez Monday played 5-on-5 for the first time since the injury, and will be a game-time decision for tonight's contest against the Knicks.
After practice in Brooklyn, coach Avery Johnson hedged a little, saying that the chance of Lopez playing tonight "is not very high" and that the Nets, who have lost four straight games without the 7-footer, "can't treat Brook as a savior."
Without him, the Nets have certainly looked like a team in need of saving. Their losing streak included an embarrassing home defeat to Milwaukee, in which they were down by 29 in the third quarter. The Nets have given up 106.3 points per game in the process.
With Lopez on the court the last time the Nets played the Knicks, on Nov. 26 at the Barclays Center, it looked like the new neighbors would challenge for city supremacy.
The big man scored 22 points and grabbed 11 boards as the Nets triumphed 96-89 in overtime, in what was the first tilt between the two teams since the Nets moved to Brooklyn. The result left both teams at 9-4.
What a difference two weeks makes. The Knicks are now 15-5, while the Nets have sunk to 11-8.
"It hurts" not having Lopez, Williams said to reporters over the weekend. "He's been a big part of our defensive surge. It's no surprise that when he went out, we struggled a little bit."