The NBA: Brook Not Broken

Brook Lopez came back strong and scored 38 points
as the Nets upset the Mavericks.

 *All images are from the Associated Press.

Brook Lopez is back and scored 38 points in only his third game of the season.

The Nets beat the world champion Dallas Mavericks.

Deron Williams now has a legitimate inside target for his dishes aside from Kris Humphries (both Shelden Williams and Johann Petro were woefully inconsistent).

A renaissance in New Jersey?

A playoff possibility?

The play to get Dwight Howard no longer on the table?

Not necessarily.

But with an intact lineup, the Nets can make things very interesting coming into the critical games of March, where playoff positions begin to matter a little bit more.

Will Lopez score in the 30s every game moving forward?

Hell no.

Will he even be able to grab double-digit rebounds more often than not?

Don’t bet on it.

But he’ll be a consistently good offensive threat for New Jersey. He’ll take some of the heat off of Humphries, Williams and super rookie MarShon Brooks. But it will hardly be enough for a playoff run.

They’ve dug themselves in too deep a hole.

But, like I said, as long as the play the way they did against Dallas (curiously enough, the Nets are better on the road than at home), then they can play the part of the ultimate spoilers for the favorites.

Brook is back and though he hasn’t exactly got it made, at least he’s not broken.
After the JUMP: Scores and stats from around the league:

BOS over CLE, 86-83
Ray Allen scored 22 points, Kevin Garnett added 18 and the Celtics beat the Cavaliers to snap a five-game losing streak. Boston, which couldn't hold a 16-point lead in the first quarter, avoided its first six-game skid since dropping seven in a row from April 4-15, 2007. Kyrie Irving returned from a bruised elbow that sidelined him late in the second quarter and led Cleveland with 24 points, 19 in the second half.
NJN over DAL, 93-92
Brook Lopez scored 38 points in only his third game back from a broken right foot, and made the go-ahead free throws with 42 seconds left for New Jersey. The two free throws by Lopez came right after the Mavericks had taken the lead with a 13-2 run after missing 14 consecutive field goals.
CHI over NOH, 99-95
Derrick Rose scored 32 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 19.4 seconds left, and Chicago closed with an 8-0 run. Joakim Noah had 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Bulls and Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng added 14 points apiece. Chris Kaman had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets and Trevor Ariza scored 16 points.
IND over GSW, 102-78
Danny Granger scored 25 points to help Indiana win its fifth straight. Tyler Hansbrough scored 15 points and Roy Hibbert added 12 points and 9 rebounds for the Pacers, who remained in third place in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers topped 100 points for the fourth straight game after doing so just six times before the current stretch.
PHI over DET, 97-68
Thaddeus Young scored 12 of his 20 points in a pivotal second quarter and All-Star Andre Iguodala had 12 points, 6 assists and 4 steals to help Philadelphia snap a five-game losing streak. Sixers coach Doug Collins left the bench between the third and fourth quarters, walking to the team's locker room, and didn't return to the court because of flulike symptoms. Greg Monroe scored 20 points and Rodney Stuckey had 17 for the Pistons.
MIN over LAC, 109-97
Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley each scored 27 points, teaming up to lead a fourth-quarter shooting barrage as Minnesota beat the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers in the teams' first game since the All-Star break. Williams finished 9 of 10 from the field while making all four of his 3-point attempts and all five of his free throws. Beasley hit 11 of 15 from the floor, including all three of his 3-pointers.
SAC over UTA, 103-96
DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and Sacramento celebrated a possible new arena deal with a victory over struggling Utah. Rookie guard Isaiah Thomas had 18 points and eight assists for the Kings, who have won two straight. Thomas, the last player chosen in the 2011 draft, started his fifth consecutive game at point guard. He has scored 96 points in those five games to tie a franchise mark set by Otis Birdsong in 1977.
HOU over TOR, 88-85
Kyle Lowry scored 26 points, Luis Scola had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Houston beat Toronto. Kevin Martin scored 14 points, though he missed a key free throw with 11.7 seconds left that gave the Raptors a chance to tie it. But Linas Kleiza missed a long 3-point try, Martin corralled the rebound and the Rockets won for the 18th time in the last 25 games. Toronto outrebounded Houston 47-37, but went 2 for 17 from 3-point range and committed 17 turnovers.
MIL over WAS, 119-118
Ersan Ilyasova scored on a tip-in with 2.2 seconds left and Milwaukee handed Washington its fifth consecutive defeat. Mike Dunleavy scored a season-high 28 points for the Bucks, who snapped a six-game losing streak at home. Brandon Jennings took an inbounds pass with 6.8 seconds left and drove left of the lane, attempting a short jumper. It bounced off the rim, but Ilyasova had position and tipped in the miss for the winning points.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Brook Lopez (NJN) – 38
Derrick Rose (CHI) – 32
Blake Griffin (LAC) – 30
Mike Dunleavy (MIL) – 28

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 18
Joakim Noah (CHI) – 16
Kris Humphries (NJN) & Ed Davis (TOR) – 15

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
John Wall – 15
Deron Williams – 12
Rajon Rondo – 11

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Paul George (IND), Andre Iguodala (PHI) & Jason Terry (DAL) – 4

Paul George may have lost the Slam Dunk Contest, but he
and the Pacers have a clear shot at the playoffs.

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Taj Gibson (CHI) – 5
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) & Chris Wright (GSW) – 4

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Mike Dunleavy (MIL) - 5
A LOT with 4

Mike Dunleavy hit 5 threes to help the Bucks escape
the Wizards.

Feb. 28, 2012 First Five
C – Brook Lopez (NJN) _ 38pts, 6rebs, 1ast
F – DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – 22pts, 18rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk
F – Blake Griffin (LAC) – 30pts, 7rebs, 4asts, 1stl
G – Derrick Rose (CHI) – 32pts, 9asts, 3stls, 2rebs, 2blks
G – Chris Paul (LAC) – 27pts, 6asts, 4rebs, 1stl, 1blk

DeMarcus Cousins is fast becoming one of the most
dominant big men out West.

Honorable Mention:
DerrickWilliams (MIL) – 27pts, 5rebs, 4 treys, 1blk
Joakim Noah (CHI) – 15pts, 16rebs, 5asts, 2stls, 2blks
John Wall (WAS) – 19pts, 15asts, 5rebs, 1stl

Daily Zap:

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Associated Press.
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