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Atlantic Notes: Afflalo, Johnson, Ross, Bennett

After shaking off an early-season hamstring injury, Arron Afflalo is giving the Knicks the production they expected, writes Daniel Popper of The New York Daily News. Afflalo signed with New York as a free agent this summer, receiving a two-year deal worth $16MM. The hamstring problem forced him to miss the season’s first eight games and slowed Afflalo in finding his offensive rhythm, but he has raised his scoring average to 14.2 points per night and has been an important figure in the team’s four-game winning streak. “I knew what he can do,” said teammate Carmelo Anthony. “This is one of the reasons why [when] they asked me about him in the summer, I vouched for him. The way he’s been playing as of late, taking advantage of the mismatches out there, the way he’s shooting the ball, defending, I think it takes our team up another level.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Between added responsibilities and constant losing, the NetsJoe Johnson is going through his most difficult season in more than a decade, according to Andy Vasquez of The Record. Johnson had to take over as the primary playmaker after Deron Williams was waived during the summer, and a recent rash of injuries has pushed his playing time to 34.5 minutes per game. “It’s tough, man,” Johnson said. “I’m not going to sit here and [put up a] front. But I just try to find things that’s positive in it and just keep rolling.”
  • The Raptors probably made a mistake by committing three more years to Terrence Ross, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. The reserve swingman received a three-year extension worth nearly $31MM just before the deadline last month. The decision came despite decreased production, as his playing time has been cut this season and his scoring, rebounding and assist averages have all declined. Smith thinks the only upside to the deal is that Toronto now has an asset under contract for three more seasons and another team is likely to become interested in Ross.
  • The Raptors are sending Anthony Bennett to the D-League for an afternoon game and then will recall him for this evening’s game with the Kings, the team tweeted. Delon Wright was also recalled today from Raptors 905. (Twitter link).

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