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D-Will remains seated as Lopez helps Nets top Kings

Brooklyn Point Guard to Miss Remainder of West Coast Swing

January 22, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brook Lopez records one of his six blocked shots Wednesday night as the Nets beat the Kings in Sacramento after announcing that starting point guard Deron Williams would remain sidelined with a rib injury. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press
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As if the first half of their season wasn’t miserable enough, the Brooklyn Nets got some bad news before tipping off Game 42 in Sacramento on Wednesday night.

Deron Williams, the team’s $98 million point guard, will not be available to play during the final two legs of the Nets’ ongoing three-game West Coast swing, which continued Thursday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Williams, who has battled calf and ankle issues over the previous two seasons, is down with fractured rib cartilage that has kept him out of action since a Jan. 7 home loss to Boston.

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When Williams embarked on the critical road trip with the Nets (18-24), there was hope that he might eventually be able to suit up, be it against the Clippers or in Saturday’s game against his former team, the Utah Jazz.

But the Nets revealed Wednesday that Williams, who has begun on-court non-contact drills, is still experiencing pain and his inactive status would remain pat until at least next Monday, when Brooklyn hosts Portland at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

Fortunately for the Nets, Williams wasn’t missed against the Kings as Brook Lopez came off the bench to produce 22 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots in Brooklyn’s 103-100 victory in front of 16,427 fans at Sleep Train Arena.

Lopez, who has been the subject of trade rumors of late, as well as throughout his tenure with the Nets has not only accepted his backup role behind second-year center Mason Plumlee, he is thriving in it.

”I’ve been on the trading block for 6 ½ years, so that doesn’t bother me,” said Lopez, who finished 8-of-15 from the floor as the Nets won for the second time in three games since ending a season-high seven-game slide with a win in Washington last Friday night. “I just live with it.”

Jarrett Jack, filling in at point guard for Williams, scored 16 points and handed out eight assists and Joe Johnson also poured in 16, including a clutch 3-pointer with 71 seconds remaining that helped Brooklyn avert a late collapse.

”Down the stretch they went small and became more aggressive and we couldn’t run our offense,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins admitted. ”But we hung in there and got the win.”

The ever-resourceful Alan Anderson added 14 points off the bench for Brooklyn, which retained a half-game lead over Charlotte for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Plumlee, who is slated to represent the Nets during the Slam Dunk Competition on All-Star weekend here in Brooklyn, was limited to six points in 11 minutes due to foul trouble and Lopez’s effectiveness throughout Wednesday’s win.


In local college hoops news, reigning Northeast Conference Player of the Week Brent Jones scored a game-high 22 points and handed out six assists Wednesday night as league-leading St. Francis Brooklyn defeated Central Connecticut State, 63-51, at Madison Square Garden.

Jones, who enjoyed his third consecutive 20-plus point effort, went 8-of-14 from the field, picked up a pair of steals and moved within eight assists of setting the Remsen Street school’s all-time record in that category.

At 6-1 in the NEC, the Terriers, still seeking their first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, are off to their best start in conference play since the 2000-01 campaign.

Senior Jalen Cannon had 15 points, six rebounds and three steals for St. Francis, which shot a season-high 54 percent from the floor at “The World’s Most Famous Arena”, and held the struggling Blue Devils (2-18, 0-7 NEC) to a paltry 27 percent shooting effort over the final 20 minutes.

Winners of 12 of their last 15 overall, the Terriers will continue their quest for a conference title Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. within the friendly confines of the Pope Center.

Also Wednesday, the Brooklyn College Bulldogs got 16 points apiece from borough natives Egzon Gjonbalaj and Jamel Gist en route to an 86-68 triumph at CUNYAC rival CCNY in Manhattan.

With the victory, BC improved to 15-3 overall, 7-2 against conference opponents and gave Rich Micallef the most wins ever by a first-year Bulldogs head coach.

BC will host John Jay at the West Quad Center on Friday.

The Lady Bulldogs also got past CCNY Wednesday, cruising to a 62-47 win behind senior Megan Campbell’s 16 points and career-high 21 rebounds.

The BC ladies (11-5, 8-1 CUNYAC) will host John Jay just before the men’s game on Friday at 5 p.m.

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