NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 8th (All times eastern)
New York Knicks (40-38) at New Jersey Nets (24-54), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Carmelo Anthony will take his hot hand across the Hudson River tonight, when he leads the playoff-bound New York Knicks into New Jersey to take on the rival Nets from the Prudential Center.
Anthony has scored 20 or more points in 10 straight games and is averaging 26.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and three assists in 24 games since joining the Knicks in a blockbuster deal with Denver. Anthony had 31 points and 11 rebounds in an exciting 97-92 victory in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Knicks had a 19-point lead evaporate, but Anthony fueled a 10-4 spurt at the end of the game and put New York ahead to stay on a three-pointer in the waning seconds of the game.
"I really didn't have anywhere to go," said Anthony. "I just pulled up. As soon as I let it go, it felt good."
Toney Douglas scored 17 points off the bench, while Amare Stoudemire added 18 points and six rebounds for New York, which has won five straight following a six-game losing streak. Knicks guard Chauncey Billups left the game in the third quarter with a right thigh contusion and Stoudemire suffered an ankle injury. Stoudemire has already been ruled out of tonight's contest while Billups was upgraded to probable.
The Knicks are 1-0 on a three-game road trip and will also visit Indiana. They are 17-21 away from Madison Square Garden this season and took over the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference -- just a half-game ahead of Philadelphia with four to play.
New Jersey has four more games on its schedule and will try to even its 19-20 home record with a win Friday night.
The Nets have lost 11 of their last 13 games and dropped a 116-109 decision to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Brook Lopez scored a career-high 39 points for the Nets, who played without star guard Deron Williams.
"We kind of lost the game by not getting the ball back inside," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "Brook just had an outstanding offensive game."
Jordan Farmar picked up the slack with 18 points and 11 assists, and Sasha Vujacic scored 16 points in defeat. Nets forward Kris Humphries (ankle/heel) and guard Anthony Morrow (knee) are both questionable versus the Knicks. Humphries has a team-leading 29 double-doubles this season.
Williams was shut down for the remainder of the season Friday morning because of a wrist injury that will require surgery. The All-Star underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday and the results revealed bone fragments and a buildup of scar tissue in the right wrist. The surgical procedure will remove the bone fragments and excise the scar tissue.
The Nets acquired Williams from the Utah Jazz on February 23 and the two-time All-Star played just 12 games for his new team. He averaged 15.0 points and 12.8 assists during his brief tenure with the club.
The Knicks lead the season series with New Jersey, 3-0, and will look to sweep the series for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign (3-0). These two Atlantic Division foes have split the previous 12 matchups in New Jersey. Stoudemire is averaging 29 points in two games against the Nets in 2010-11.
04/08 12:51:53 ET