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Knicks and Nets battle for NY; Heat faces rivals Bulls

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The Sports Network
12/5/2013 11:20:36 AM
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It's a double dose of Thursday night hoops as the battle of New York continues, and the defending champs head to the windy city to renew a rivalry.

Watch the Knicks at Nets (TSN2) Tonight at 7pm et/4pm pt and Heat at Bulls (TSN2) Tonight at 9:30pm et/6:30pm pt

Thursday's showdown between the Knicks and Nets at Barclays Center was an anticipated matchup when the schedule came out and now seems like an ordinary game.

The Knicks have lost nine a row and are just 3-13, while Brooklyn has dropped eight of 10 games for a 5-13 record. Both the Knicks and Nets are battling to stay out of the basement in the Atlantic Division. Actually, the Knicks are three games off the division lead and Brooklyn sits two back.

"I just want to win, man," Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said. "I don't care about me having a big night. I want to win. I think that should be the mindset for everybody. Is it an important game for us? Yeah. Let's be quite frank about that. We are playing Brooklyn in their arena, one of our rivals, and we want to win."

Anthony then said he wants to have a big game and that the team as a whole should have the same mentality. Anthony, the NBA's reigning leading scorer, is second in the league with 26.3 points per game and will see a familiar face on the opposing side in Nets head coach Jason Kidd. Kidd and Anthony were teammates last season in New York.

"We have to get used to it," Anthony said of seeing Kidd. "I'm still getting used to it because just a couple of months ago he had a uniform on with us. To see him in a suit now coaching ... trying to get used to that."

A reporter told Anthony that Kidd was asked about Thursday's battle between the Knicks and Nets and responded, "we both stink right now."

"We do. He wasn't lying about that. I mean we do," Anthony said with a smile. "For us we have to figure it out and try to turn it around ASAP. We have to play with some more energy, some more effort."

Anthony, who has led the Knicks in scoring in all 16 games, also said, "we are the laughing stock of the league right now."

New York suffered its ninth straight loss in Sunday's 103-99 decision versus the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony netted 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points off the bench and Andrea Bargnani chipped in 17 and seven rebounds for the Knicks, who are on the longest losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from Jan. 28 - Feb. 13, 2006.

"Until we are able to take pride in guarding the ball, there are going to be nights like this," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "We needed some stops and we couldn't get them."

J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton scored 12 points apiece for the Knicks, who haven't won since Nov. 13 at Atlanta. Smith is probable Thursday because of a sore left knee and is averaging 11.7 points per game.

The Knicks hope to stop a five-game road losing streak and are just 2-6 away from Madison Square Garden this season.

Brooklyn is coming off Tuesday's 111-87 loss to the Denver Nuggets and is still without guards Deron Williams (ankle) and Jason Terry (knee), and forwards Paul Pierce (hand) and Andrei Kirilenko (back). Through 18 games this season, the Nets have lost a total of 41 games due to injury.

Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche scored 22 and 15 points, respectively, for the Nets, while Brook Lopez and Tyshawn Taylor each finished with 12.

"We sometimes can't put the ball in the basket and we stop playing on the other end," Kidd said after Brooklyn's fifth straight loss at home.

The Nets are 2-5 at Barclays Center this season.

Johnson has scored 20 or more points in four of his last six games, averaging 21.0 ppg in that time, and is four assists shy of 4,000 in his career.

Kidd, meanwhile, made some news when he reassigned assistant coach Lawrence Frank to a lesser role. Kidd cited "different philosophies" for the switch.

Brooklyn and New York will play the first of four matchups this season and split four games in 2012-13. The Knicks are 11-5 in the last 16 meetings with the Nets and have won four of five as the guest in this series.

Anthony averaged 35.0 ppg in four games against Brooklyn last season. Williams, who is doubtful for Thursday, posted an average of 16.0 points and 11.5 assists in last season's series (4 games).

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The Miami Heat will exit the comfy confines of home when they embark on a four-game road trip, starting with Thursday's matchup against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

Miami had its season-high 10-game winning streak come to an end with Tuesday's 107-97 loss to the Detroit Pistons and played without guard Dwyane Wade because of sore knees. LeBron James once again led the Heat with 23 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds.

James has scored in double figures in 513 consecutive games. Moses Malone is next on the list at 526 games from Oct. 4, 1978 - March 4, 1985.

Michael Beasley added 23 points off the bench and Chris Bosh registered 14 for the Heat, who were down 28-18 after the first quarter and trailed by as many as 17 in the fourth quarter. The Heat trimmed the Pistons' lead to 91-88, but would get no closer the rest of the way.

Detroit scored 29 points off 19 Miami turnovers and held the Heat to 43.9 percent shooting.

The Heat will try to extend their road winning streak to six games Thursday and are 5-2 as the guest. Miami will also make stops in Minnesota, Detroit and Indiana.

Meanwhile, Wade is probable against the Bulls and is averaging 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds this season. Wade has scored 20-plus points in four of his previous five games.

Chicago opened its four-game homestand with Monday's 131-128 triple-overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans after going 1-5 on its previous road trip.

The Bulls were outscored, 9-6, in the third extra period and suffered their first home loss of the season (5-1). Luol Deng did all he could to propel the Bulls to victory with 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Deng has tallied five straight games with 20 or more points, averaging 27.4 points per game in that stretch.

Taj Gibson posted a career-best 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Mike Dunleavy netted 23 points. Chicago was coming off a late loss at Cleveland and is just 1-6 in the past seven games overall.

"We are just one play away the last two games, but the games are there for us," Gibson told NBA.com.

Joakim Noah ended with 19 points and 10 rebounds versus the Pelicans and Kirk Hinrich chipped in 13 points, 11 assists and six rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Hinrich, of course, is seeing more action with star guard Derrick Rose expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing another knee surgery.

Rose is scheduled to address the media for the first time since his season- ending surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee after Thursday's shootaround.

The Bulls, who are allowing just 94.6 ppg, still have Detroit and Milwaukee slated to visit the United Center, and suffered a 107-95 loss at Miami on Oct. 29. James had 17 points to lead seven players in double figures and Carlos Boozer scored a game-high 31 points to pace the Bulls, who have dropped four of six games against Miami.

Miami has lost 10 of 13 trips to the Windy City.

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets had high expectations for this season, but so far both squads have disappointed.

 

Lebron James and Luol Deng (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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