Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Nets' Home Beat Goes On

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Nets' Home Beat Goes On

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Brook Lopez is not coming back this season. In fact, Friday brought word of yet another surgery for the Nets' center -- this one on his left ankle -- adding to his already-lengthy dossier of lower-body problems.

But Friday also brought more evidence that without Lopez, the team's leading scorer, the Nets are holding up just fine.

Brooklyn pounded Boston, 114-98, winning for the 11th consecutive time at Barclays Center and the ninth time in 11 games overall.

After starting the season 10-21, the Nets (36-31) have gone 25- 10 since New Year's Day, and wake up today 1 1/2 games behind Toronto for the Atlantic Division lead and No. 3 seed in the East.

"We're clicking on all cylinders right now," said Paul Pierce, who had 14 points against his former team. "We're starting to reach our peak here at the right time."

Few could have envisioned the Nets clicking this way on Dec. 20, when Lopez, the team's lone All-Star last season, suffered a broken bone in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. He later had season- ending surgery.

Before Friday's game, Nets general manager Billy King announced Lopez's latest surgery. It was performed on March 3 and, according to the team, included tightening the lateral left ankle ligaments and repairing a torn tendon.

King emphasized that the recent operation wasn't a surprise to the Nets, and it won't affect Lopez's return timetable from the extensive reconstructive right-foot surgery he underwent on Jan. 4. King said Lopez is recovering "great" from that surgery, and is on schedule to return to basketball-related activity in early-June.

However, the latest surgery certainly will add more fuel to the perception that the 25-year-old 7-footer is damaged goods -- he has $32.5 million and two years remaining on the deal he signed in the summer of 2012.

King emphasized he's not worried about the long-term prospects for Lopez, comparing him to former Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskus who underwent a similar surgery that saved his career. …

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