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NBA roundup: Bobcats fall

Associated Press
The NBA roundup…
ATLANTA ó Josh Smith had 21 points and six rebounds and Joe Johnson added 12 points, three rebounds and five assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 92-75 victory over Charlotte Bobcats in a preseason game Thursday night.
Thursdayís game was the second game of the teamsí two-game preseason series. The Bobcats beat the Hawks 79-77 in Charlotte on Monday.
Al Horford had seven rebounds to go with six points, and Vladimir Radmanovic added 11 points and three rebounds for the Hawks.
ěThe energy level was much greater tonight,î Hawks coach Larry Drew said. ěI thought our starters did a good job picking up energy in times where we got a little lackadaisical.î
Corey Maggette led the Bobcats with 18 points and five rebounds. Rookie Kemba Walker, the ninth overall pick in the draft, had eight points, four rebounds and two assists.
D.J. Augustin had nine points and three assists, and Matt Carroll added nine points and three rebounds.
The Hawks led 49-46 at the half, then outscored the Bobcats 22-12 in the third quarter. The Hawks scored 46 points in the paint to the Bobcatsí 34, and had 23 second-chance points to their 10.
ěWe executed well tonight and thatís about it,î Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. ěWe didnít rebound well, we didnít defend well and the basic thing, we didnít bring any energy tonight.î
Bismack Biyombo, the seventh overall pick, had one point, two rebounds and four turnovers in slightly less than 16 minutes.
Veterans Tracy McGrady and Jerry Stackhouse, whom the Hawks signed as free agents, are still getting their legs under them. McGrady, first off the bench, had four points; Stackhouse had two points and an assist.
Rookie Ivan Johnson added 15 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes.
Notes: Rookie Donald Sloan started at point guard for the Hawks after Jeff Teague sprained his left ankle in Wednesdayís practice. … Free agent guard Willie Green, signed earlier Thursday, did not dress for the game. He played in 77 games for the Hornets last season. … The Bobcats were without forward Tyrus Thomas, who left Mondayís game with a sprained left ankle. Coach Paul Silas said he wasnít sure Thomas would be ready for Mondayís season opener against the Bucks.
LOPEZ SURGERY
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó The New Jersey Nets will be without center and leading scorer Brook Lopez for a couple of months because of a broken right foot.
Lopez, who did not miss a game in his first three seasons, was injured during an exhibition game against the Knicks on Wednesday and he will have surgery Friday.
The injury is a stress fracture to the slow-healing fifth metatarsal, the same kind of injury that New York Giants first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara suffered on Aug. 6 in training camp. He did not play in a game until Nov. 20.
ěI had a long talk with Brook last night,î coach Avery Johnson said. ěHe is not in great spirits but we tried to lift his spirits to let him know that, hey, this is a little bit of a setback but he could definitely have a big-time comeback. Hopefully, once we get through with the surgery and get back to rehabbing and he can heal up and we can get him back at some point this season.î
Lopez, who averaged 20.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season as the Nets posted a 24-58 record, played in the second half with the injury.
To help fill the void, the Nets acquired Mehmet Okur from the Utah Jazz on Thursday for a second-round draft pick.
ěMehmet will give us added scoring and size,î Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement. ěHis ability to shoot the 3 will help space the floor.î
The Nets would not say how long Lopez will be sidelined but a medical expert said it would be from six to 12 weeks, but it has the potential of being longer, depending on the degree of the stress fracture.
Dr. Victor Khabie, the chief of the department of surgery and sports medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., told The Associated Press the problem with injuries to the fifth metatarsal is that the blood supply to that area is poor, which prevents doctors from simply putting the foot in a cast.
ěFor that reason and especially with an athlete you want to get back as soon as possible, we end up doing surgery, which is inserting a metal screw intro the bone to compress the bone together,î Khabie said. ěThe act of inserting the screw also stimulates blood flow to the area.î
Khabie said that Lopezís size may increase his recovery time.
ěBiomechanics are such that with a bigger guy, the more pressure you put on it, the bone has to be more solid,î Khabie said. ěIt may not make a difference in the healing, but it needs to be more fully healed before you let a 7-footer start jumping up and down on it.î
While he has not seen Lopezís X-rays, Khabie felt 12 weeks would be his best guess at a recovery.
ěI think that would be early,î he added. ěIf I saw him as a patient, I would say: ëListen, hopefully, weíll get you back in three months.í I would say that would be a very optimistic type of call. This could be season-ending, potentially, seeing how short the (NBA) season is.î
The lockout-shortened season opens this weekend and the regular season concludes at the end of April. The trade deadline is mid-March, which is important to note.
The injury could hurt the Netsí chances of making a deal for Orlando All-Star center Dwight Howard. The Nets and Magic had some talks about a deal after the lockout ended and 23-year-old Lopez was said to be part of the package the Nets offered.
If he canít play, there probably is no deal.
The Associated Press
12/22/11 22:12

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