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Aaron Brooks breaks tooth diving for loose ball during Kings’ loss to Bulls (VIDEO)

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

Hey, what's up, Aaron Brooks? Welcome back! We hope you had fun in that lockout-spurred year with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, but we bet you're pretty happy to be back in the good ol' NBA, your ol' stomping grounds, the comfortable ol' confines in which nothing bad ever OH WHOA HEY LOOK OUT

After making a 3-pointer to cut the Chicago Bulls' lead over his Sacramento Kings to five points with 2:31 left in the fourth quarter of their season-opening matchup on Wednesday night, Brooks pressured the dribble of Chicago's Kirk Hinrich, forcing the Bulls point guard to bang the ball off his leg and cough it up near midcourt. The two dove for the loose ball, with Brooks getting to the deck first.

In football, the time-honored adage is that in any head-to-head meeting, the low man will always win. In basketball, it seems, the low man will get his face driven into the court by Kirk Hinrich's descending armpit, cracking a tooth and sending it skittering onto the floor. (Shouts to Kings athletic trainer Pete Youngman for stoically accepting the unenviable task of locating it, scooping it up, placing it on a towel like some kind of dark ring bearer at a wedding you'd rather not attend, and spiriting it away.)

Somehow, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee notes, Brooks wasn't bleeding after smacking his chopper straight into the hardwood and busting a tooth, so he stayed in the game. He hit a layup with 25 seconds remaining to cut Chicago's lead to four, but missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession that could've made it a one-possession game before fouling out in the closing seconds of the Bulls' 93-87 win. In an amazing show of restraint, neither of those two closing-seconds fouls were committed against Hinrich. You're a better man than most of us, Aaron, even if you're sporting at least one fewer Chiclet than the pack this morning.

Brooks finished with seven points, three rebounds, an assist, a steal and one pressing reminder to call his dentist. Welcome back, Aaron. Sorry about all that.

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