Atlantic Notes: Lopez, Smith, Humphries, Raptors

With Jeremy Lin stealing most of the Atlantic's headlines, let's take a look around the rest of the division to see what else is going on:

  • Nets center Brook Lopez will make his season debut on Sunday against the Bucks at home after breaking his right foot during a preseason game in December, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal. The Nets had hopes at the beginning of the season of using Lopez, 23, as a trade chip to acquire Magic center Dwight Howard before Lopez suffered the injury.
  • Jeremy Wagner of The New York Times holds out hope that the newest addition to the Knicks bench can prove doubters wrong with strong play on the court and proper decision-making off the court. J.R. Smith, 26, shared MVP honors of the 2004 McDonald's All-American game with Howard, and according to Wagner, was anxious to prove himself that night thanks to the presence of Carmelo Anthony, who was sitting courtside. 
  • One of the worst teams in the league knocked off one of the best teams on Saturday when the Nets shutdown the Bulls 97-85 in Chicago. In a performance that's bound to get other teams on the phone with the Nets to start trade talk, Kris Humphries lit up the scoreboard with 24 points and 18 rebounds in 45 minutes of play. After two consecutive 20-point and 10-rebound games, Humphries is currently averaging 13.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG on the season. 
  • The Raptors are struggling to construct an identity on both offense and defense, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. They aren't considering trades to shake up the roster at this point, but rather are looking at extra practice time to help the 9-23 squad make adjustments heading into All-Star Weekend.

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