Brook Lopez Returning to Milwaukee Bucks Lineup Against Utah Jazz After Recovering from Back Surgery

Brook Lopez is getting back in the game…

The 33-year-old Cuban-American professional basketball player and Milwaukee Bucks center who has been out with a back injury since opening night, will make his return to the lineup against the Utah Jazz on Monday night, the team announced.

Brook LopezLopez’s return fortifies the Bucks’ front line as the franchise prepares for the Eastern Conference playoffs and the chance to defend their NBA championship.

Lopez had back surgery on December 2, and had been rehabilitating the injury until he was cleared to return to full contact in practice a week ago.

The Bucks are outside of the league’s top 10 in defensive efficiency for the first time in coach Mike Budenholzer‘s tenure, and part of the reason is that they’ve been playing without Lopez’s rebounding and rim protection.

Milwaukee is 42-26 and second in the Eastern Conference behind the Miami Heat. Lopez was third in the NBA a year ago with 163 defensive box-outs, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

He also ranked second in field goal percentage allowed at the rim among 72 players to defend 200 shots, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Only the Golden State WarriorsDraymond Green (47.3%) rated better than Lopez (49.3%).

Lopez averaged 12.3 points, five rebounds and 1.5 blocks a year ago.

Alejandro Pozuelo Named Major League Soccer’s 2020 Most Valuable Player

Alejandro Pozuelo is the most-est…

The 29-year-old Spanish professional footballer, an attacking midfielder for Toronto FC, has been named Major League Soccer‘s 2020 Most Valuable Player.

Alejandro Pozuelo

Pozuelo had nine goals and 10 assists during the coronavirus-shortened regular season, even while the Reds played part of the year in Connecticut because of travel restrictions in Canada.

“I’m very proud because this means a lot and maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, when I start seeing more news, I will believe that I’ve won this award,” he said. “But I’m very proud to represent Toronto. And I know it’s easy to say that I won the award, but it’s something that takes a lot of work to get here.”

His 10 assists were tied for the league lead with Houston‘s Darwin Quintero and Seattle‘s Nicolas Lodeiro. Pozuelo had four goals and two assists during September, earning MLS Player of the Month honors.

Pozuelo is the second Toronto FC player to win the MVP award, following Sebastian Giovinco in 2015. Hailing from Sevilla, he has been with the Reds for the past two seasons. He had 12 goals and 12 assists last year. He had two goals and an assist in his MLS debut.

Pozuelo finished with 35.35% of the overall vote for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award. Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi of LAFC was runner-up and Lodeiro finished third in the poll of players, technical staffs and select members of the media.

In a conference call with reporters, Pozuelo said he feels he’ll only get better.

“I believe in myself, I know I can play good, and I try to do that,” he said. “But I feel like I played three, four, five years at a very good level and next year I’ll try to do the same.”

Toronto finished the regular season 13-5-5 and second in the Eastern Conference standings. The Reds were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by upstart Nashville. Toronto coach Greg Vanney announced last week that he’s stepping down and the Reds have started the search for a new coach.

“Vanney is a very good coach and a very good person and he helped me a lot to win this MVP. I want to say thank you to the coach,” he said. “He leaves now, and next year we’ll adapt to another coach. But I want to say thank you because with him I won this trophy.”

Lopez: A Late Addition to the 2013 NBA All-Star Team

Then there were two…

Brook Lopez will be joining Carmelo Anthony in Houston this month.

Brook Lopez

The 24-year-old half-Cuban American Brooklyn Nets center has been named as an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve by NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Stern picked Lopez to replace Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who was voted in by the fans as a starter but will have to miss the rest of the season due to a right ACL tear last month.

Lopez, initially passed over for an All-Star spot, will now make his debut in that NBA mid-season showcase on February 17 at the Toyota Center in Houston. He will be Brooklyn’s lone representative.

“It’s a huge honor,” Lopez said in a statement after the Nets’ 105-85 home loss this week to the Miami Heat.

“First and foremost, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They make my job 100 times easier, playing with Deron (Williams), Joe (Johnson), Gerald (Wallace), they gift wrap me buckets and take a lot of attention away from me on the court. It is something I have been working towards and it’s been a goal of mine and it will definitely be an exciting weekend.”

This season, Lopez is averaging 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots per game – tops for his team in all three categories.

Anthony: The Lone Latino 2013 NBA All-Star

Carmelo Anthony will be getting some extra play time this season, thanks to his dedicated fans…

The New York Knicks forward has been named as an Eastern Conference starter for the 2013 NBA All-Star game, which will take place next month in Houston. The players are voted-in by fans around the world, often leading to some interesting results.

Carmelo Anthony

It will be the sixth All-Star game for the 28-year-old half-Puerto Rican basketball star, the only Latino selected as an All-Star this year. Anthony earned 1,460,950, behind only the Miami Heat‘s LeBron James in the Eastern Conference. The Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant was the overall top vote-getter.

This season Anthony has been a scoring machine. He currently has 28 straight 20-point games.

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm ET, televised exclusively on TNT and broadcast exclusively on ESPN Radio in the U.S.

The All-Star Game will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Here’s a look at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game Roster:

Eastern    Conference

Starter

Appearance

LeBron James, F, MIA 9th
Carmelo Anthony, F, NYK 6th
Dwyane Wade, G, MIA 9th
Rajon Rondo, G, BOS 4th
Kevin Garnett, F, BOS 15th

Reserve

Appearance

Kyrie Irving, G, CLE 1st
Jrue Holiday, G, PHI 1st
Tyson Chandler, C, NYK 1st
Joakim Noah, C, CHI 1st
Luol Deng, F, CHI 2nd
Paul George, F, IND 1st
Chris Bosh, F, MIA 8th

 

Western    Conference

Starter

Appearance

Kobe Bryant, G, LAL 15th
Kevin Durant, F, OKC 4th
Chris Paul, G, LAC 6th
Dwight Howard, C, LAL 7th
Blake Griffin, F, LAC 3rd

Reserve

Appearance

R. Westbrook, G, OKC 3rd
James Harden, G, HOU 1st
Tim Duncan, C, SAS 14th
Tony Parker, G, SAS 5th
L. Aldridge, F, POR 2nd
David Lee, F, GS 2nd
Zach Randolph, F, MEM 2nd