The Nets are living the Knicks' dream

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
2:23
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NEW YORK -- Even as the New York Knicks ran around the Barclays Center on Tuesday night, acting as if the borough of Brooklyn belonged to them every bit as much as it used to, the reality of this debacle of a season rapidly seeped in.

The Brooklyn Nets weren’t fazed by anything the Knicks were doing because they didn’t need to be. The Knicks, for all intents and purposes, were a mere afterthought.

After all, the Nets will have another game at the Barclays Center next week. Unlike Tuesday night, the games to come will actually matter. They will be in the postseason. Their coach will remain on their bench next season. And their billionaire owner and smart general manager aren't worried about losing their resident franchise player because he doesn’t have the luxury of opting out of his contract and becoming a free agent this summer.

“It’s fun being a Brooklyn Net right now,” Nets GM Billy King said recently. “That much I’ll admit.”

King wasn’t taking a shot at the Knicks, but truth be told, even if he had, could you blame him?

As the Knicks' excruciating season finally comes to an end, it’s almost painful to admit that the Nets are everything the Knicks were supposed to be. And there’s no reason to believe that will change anytime soon. Even with Phil Jackson in the house.

It’s the Knicks who are not in the playoffs. It’s the Knicks who couldn’t reach 40 wins this season. It’s the Knicks who have losses to Milwaukee and Philadelphia on their résumé, who managed to surrender 51 points in a quarter to a Lakers squad without Kobe Bryant or Steve Nash and who were saddled with nine- and seven-game losing streaks.

Yet all we kept hearing throughout this season was “We’re still shooting for the playoffs” from coach Mike Woodson, who will be fired any day now. “We’ve still got something to play for.”

If you’re feeling sorry for Woodson, you have company. It appears the poor man never had a chance.

Before training camp opened or a preseason game took place, all of Woodson’s comfort nuggets were taken away from him. Gone, inexplicably, was his friend of 37 years, former GM Glen Grunwald. The contracts of his assistant coaches were not renewed. Along the way, veterans departed via retirement (Jason Kidd), trade (Steve Novak and Marcus Camby) or just other job opportunities (Rasheed Wallace), and locker-room stability departed with them.

There’s a reason Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were acquired and inserted into Brooklyn’s locker room. “Can’t put a price on stability and veteran leadership,” King said. (Factor in J.R. Smith’s five-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, and we understand why.)

The thing is, Kidd and the Nets could have suffered the same fate as the Knicks. After all, they started out 10-21. Yet despite vouching for Lawrence Frank and securing a six-year, $6 million deal for the high-profile assistant, Kidd didn’t hesitate to get rid of Frank when he decided his former New Jersey head coach was undermining him.

Essentially, Kidd said, “I’m the man in charge. I run this show.” He was backed up by King, who was backed up by Mikhail Prokhorov, who was willing to swallow the $6 million. All the Nets have done is register one of the best records in the league since Jan. 1.

The Knicks, clearly, can’t say the same.

Nobody knows this better than Carmelo Anthony, who conversed with chairman James Dolan after he released Grunwald to ask why Dolan would do such a thing. According to sources, Melo asked Dolan, “What kind of a message does it send to get rid of someone who just helped us win 54 games? What are we supposed to think or feel?"

Sadly, it wouldn’t be the last time Melo asked such questions. He’s just kept his thoughts out of the media.

The quiet, the silence, made the Knicks nervous enough to go out and sign Jackson for $12 million per year, both for PR purposes and to improve their chances of keeping Melo.

Jackson is the man who will supposedly have to answer for Melo’s departure if it comes down to that. The man assigned to rebuild the Knicks. The man who will help New Yorkers refrain from protesting outside Madison Square Garden on game days, as Jackson was able to do simply by getting introduced as the new president the day before a fan protest was scheduled last month.

Yet in the end, Melo still doesn’t know what he’ll do. He’s still out of the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year career. This Knicks roster still isn’t good enough to legitimately compete for a title. They still have Dolan and, with him, the potential for chaos, because even as the team president, Jackson still will have to deal with Dolan’s invasive tendencies eventually.

No wonder you hear Kidd consistently say how proud he is to be a Net. No wonder you don’t hear anyone in Brooklyn complaining.

They’re winning games and heading to the playoffs to compete for a championship.

The Knicks will be watching, just like the rest of us.

Buy Or Sell?

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
2:01
PM ET


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Bruce Bowen plays a game of buy or sell with the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat.

W2W4: Nets at Cavs

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
1:39
PM ET
The Brooklyn Nets close out the regular season on Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

Where will they finish? The Nets (44-37) have lost three of their last four games. They are currently the No. 5 seed in the East and can only finish sixth if they lose and the Washington Wizards (43-38) win in Boston. The Wizards have the tiebreaker (3-0 versus Nets in the regular season). Brooklyn will either face Toronto or Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.

Who is playing? We know -- at the very least -- that Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Shaun Livingston and Mirza Teletovic aren’t. Brooklyn’s goal probably is just to get out of this game healthy.

Stat to know: The veteran-laden Nets are 6-13 in the second game of back-to-back sets.

Injury report: D-Will, Joe, Shaun all out

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
12:42
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The Brooklyn Nets will be without guards Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston and forward Mirza Teletovic when they close out the regular season against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

The injury report -- which featured Johnson (sore right calf); Williams (right knee tendinitis); Livingston (sprained right big toe); and Teletovic (personal) -- was released in the team’s media notes and confirmed as accurate by its public relations staff.

Livingston has not played since April 8 in Miami, but is expected to be back for the playoffs.

Teletovic’s wife gave birth to twins on Wednesday, and it was already known he would miss the final two games of the regular season.

Williams and Johnson -- dealing with minor ailments -- are likely sitting more for precautionary reasons.

Nets coach Jason Kidd and his players have said their No. 1 goal heading into the playoffs is to be healthy.

The Nets (44-37) can clinch the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win.

The only way they can fall to No. 6 is if they lose and the Washington Wizards (43-38) win in Boston.

The Wizards hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-0 regular-season record against the Nets.
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Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko got creative with his passing game against the Knicks.

Starting Five: Bulls or Raptors?

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
10:00
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So it all comes down to this, the final day of the regular season:

Who do you want the Brooklyn Nets to face in the playoffs?

The scenarios are as follows:

• If the Nets (44-37) win in Cleveland, they get the No. 5 seed.

[+] EnlargeJoakim Noah
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDo the Nets want another crack at Joakim Noah and the Bulls in the first round?
• If the Nets lose in Cleveland and Washington (43-38) wins in Boston, the Nets get the No. 6 seed. The Wizards hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-0 regular-season record against Brooklyn.

• If both the Nets and Wizards lose, the Nets get the No. 5 seed.

• If the Raptors win in New York, Toronto gets the No. 3 seed.

• If the Raptors lose in New York and Chicago wins in Charlotte, Toronto gets the No. 4 seed. Toronto holds the tiebreaker over the Bulls by virtue of its Atlantic Division title.

• If both the Raptors and Bulls loses, the Raptors get the No. 3 seed.

Got that?

It appeared as though the Nets were going to lock up the No. 5 seed, but they’ve lost three of their last four games -- all to sub-.500 opponents.

In speaking with people within the organization, it sounds as though the majority would rather avoid Chicago and face Toronto.

But the bottom line is, both teams are going to be a challenge for Brooklyn:

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Which team woud you rather play in the first round?

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    12%
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    62%
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    26%

Discuss (Total votes: 302)

The Bulls eliminated the Nets in the first round last season. They play a physical brand of basketball under Tom Thibodeau, priding themselves on being tenacious defensively. Chicago’s biggest advantage appears to be up front, where Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer would likely give Brooklyn fits.

The Raptors, on the other hand, have a terrific backcourt in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan -- two extremely tough covers. Lowry especially requires the attention of the entire Nets’ defense. Toronto is a great 3-point shooting team, while Brooklyn is not great defending beyond the arc. The Raptors' starting bigs, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson, are no slouches either.

We’ll have to wait and see who Nets coach Jason Kidd decides to play and sit against the Cavaliers, but Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson both sounded like they were making the trip.

Question: Whom do you prefer the Nets face in the first round? Let us know in the comments section below.

In case you missed it: The Nets were crushed by the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.

Stats of the night: The Nets finished the regular season by winning 16 of their final 18 games at home. They went 28-13 at Barclays Center this season. Deron Williams has made a steal in 30 consecutive games. Mason Plumlee is averaging 15 points and 7.3 rebounds on 80.9 percent shooting in his last six games.

Up next: Nets at Cavaliers on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.
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NEW YORK -- Iman Shumpert got his Knicks teammates jumping out of their seats on the bench when he shook Paul Pierce, who lost his footing and stumbled to the floor.

Later, Toure' Murry threw an alley-oop pass off the glass to a trailing Shumpert for a rim-rattling dunk.

Giddy Knicks fans who made the trek across the river to Barclays stood and applauded Mike Woodson’s team at the end of a 109-98 win over the Nets.

[+] EnlargeNets/Knicks
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIThe Nets rose above the Knicks for New York supremacy this season.
The Knicks wanted this game more. And throttling a completely disinterested Nets team gave them and their fans a sense of satisfaction for at least one night.

“Hell yeah,” Knicks shooter J.R. Smith said of whether beating the Nets meant something to him. “I’m cool with some of those guys over there, so I can still say something when we’re in the gym this summer.

“As long as I can say they didn’t beat us that many times, then we’re good.”

The Knicks won the season series from the Nets 3-1. And they won the three games by an average of 23.3 points.

But the Nets won the battle of which team is the best in town. That’s because the Knicks’ summer starts on Thursday. While the Knicks clean out their lockers, the Nets will be preparing for a playoff series this weekend.

“Good for us, good for our brand, good for Brooklyn basketball," point guard Deron Williams told reporters on Tuesday morning about being the last New York team standing this season. "It's part of the takeover."

Forget all the talk last offseason about how the Nets will convert Knicks fans into Brooklyn fans and run this town.

A Nets takeover will take years to complete, and it will take years of winning consistently. And even if the Knicks kept losing, the Nets would likely have to win a championship to seriously steal fans away from the Knicks.

But what really matters right now is that the Nets are the ones playing in the postseason. After Wednesday’s regular-season finale against the Toronto Raptors, the Knicks and Phil Jackson officially start focusing their attention on keeping Carmelo Anthony.

That, of course, would have been made easier if the Knicks were contending for a championship. When this season began, there was so much excitement about how good of a year it was going to be for New York hoops.

The Knicks, coming off a 54-win season, were looking to take a step forward. The Nets traded for Pierce and Kevin Garnett and had legit championship aspirations for the first time since Jason Kidd was throwing alley-oops off the glass to Kenyon Martin against the Knicks.

But both teams got off to dreadful starts. Only one team got its act together after New Year’s Eve. And now only one team in the area moves on.

And that’s a crusher for the Knicks, who will have to watch the Nets play on TV.

“I’m a basketball guy, I watch basketball, that's what I do,” Woodson said. “This year is going to be tough, sitting at home watching basketball. I didn't envision that happening with our team. That's going to be the tough part behind it. I'll watch Jason. I wish all coaches nothing but the best.”

Anthony, who didn’t play due to his injured shoulder, would probably pay max money to trade places with Paul Pierce and the Nets.

“It’s that time of year when you get the chills,” he said. “It’s that sort of time when the weather is getting warmer. It’s an exciting time of year. Everybody loves being in the playoffs.”

[+] EnlargeJ.R. Smith
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIThe Knicks smothered the Nets Tuesday in Brooklyn.
Pierce was frustrated after the loss, but not because the Knicks were running and dunking all over the Nets. While Kidd has been resting select players for the past few games to stay healthy, the Nets are playing like it’s the preseason right now.

“Going into the playoffs, you want to start building habits and tonight was an example of how not to take a step forward,” Pierce said. “We were off our game -- offensively, defensively, all phases of the game. That is not how you want to go into the playoffs. No excuses about it. We got to be better.”

At least the Nets still have a chance to do something about the way they’ve been playing. After Wednesday, the Knicks can’t do anything more about the 2013-14 season.

As Pierce said, it’s that special time of the year. The Knicks can feel good about stomping the Nets one last time for this season before going fishing.

The Nets? They got bigger fish to fry than the Knicks.

And that’s all you need to know about who won the battle of New York this season.

Worried after Nets' no-show? Not the Kidd

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
12:56
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NEW YORK -- Since completing a four-game sweep of the two-time defending champion Miami Heat exactly a week ago, the Brooklyn Nets have looked like a team that could not care less about the rest of the regular season.

But despite losing three of their past four games -- all to sub-.500 opponents -- Nets coach Jason Kidd claims he isn’t concerned.

“Not at all. No. Why would I be concerned?” a peeved Kidd said after the Nets were beaten handily by the New York Knicks, 109-98, on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. “It happens. [You play] 82 [games]. Sometimes you play well. Sometimes you don’t. We’ll get better tomorrow.”

As far as their playoff seeding is concerned, Kidd said, “Fifth, sixth, same thing. We’re going to play Toronto or Chicago.”

[+] EnlargeJason Kidd
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Nets coach Jason Kidd chalked up Tuesday's loss to the ebb and flow of an 82-game schedule.
The Nets (44-37) could’ve locked up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win. But despite playing four starters, they looked sloppy and disinterested from the opening tipoff. They allowed the Knicks to shoot 52.4 percent from 3-point range and turned the ball over 20 times.

As Kidd said, at least no one got hurt, and that has been the veteran team’s No. 1 goal since it locked up a spot in the postseason.

Here’s the deal on Wednesday night:

• If the Nets win in Cleveland, they get the fifth seed. If they lose and the Washington Wizards win in Boston, they get the sixth seed, because Washington (43-38) holds the tiebreaker by virtue of going 3-0 against Brooklyn in the regular season.

• If both the Nets and Wizards lose, the Nets get the No. 5 seed.

• If both the Raptors and Bulls loses, the Raptors get the No. 3 seed.

• The Raptors (48-33) hold the tiebreaker over the Bulls (48-33) for the third seed by virtue of winning the Atlantic Division title. Toronto plays in New York, and Chicago plays in Charlotte.

Kidd wasn’t sure who was going to Cleveland, but Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson both sounded as though they were going to travel with the team. Given that it’s a back-to-back, it’s highly doubtful Kevin Garnett makes the trip.

“Going into the playoffs you want to start building good habits, and tonight was an example of how not to take a step forward,” Pierce said. “We were off our game offensively, and that’s not how you want to go into the playoffs. No excuses about it. We have to be better.”

Pierce is certainly looking forward to the playoffs.

“It’s that time of year when you get the chills,” he said. “It’s that sort of time when the weather is getting warmer. It’s an exciting time of year. Everybody loves being in the playoffs.”

Are Brooklyn’s recent struggles something to be the Nets should be concerned about? Only time will tell.

“We should have that sense of urgency now,” Pierce said. “You can’t just turn it on once the playoffs start. It’s not like you can just go in and be world beaters.”

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 109, Nets 98

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
11:02
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NEW YORK -- For New York Knicks fans, the last three games must feel like salt on an open wound.

The Knicks are 2-0 since being eliminated from the playoffs and have won three straight overall.

It's too little, too late, of course. And it must have been pretty torturous for Knicks fans to watch their team trounce the Nets on national television on Tuesday.

The Knicks dominated the Nets on both ends of the floor, winning 109-98.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had a team-high 16 points off the bench and Amar'e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Shannon Brown added 14 points apiece to lead the Knicks.

New York's defense forced 19 turnovers and converted them into 21 points.

The Knicks won the season series with the Nets, 3-1.

They've also beaten playoff teams in their last three games (Toronto, Chicago, Brooklyn).

Maybe if the Knicks played all season with the energy and efficiency they've shown in the last three games, they'd be in the postseason.

Instead, they end their season at home against Toronto on Wednesday.

Shump sizzles: Third-year guard Iman Shumpert had a few highlight plays against the Nets. He had a killer crossover that shook off Paul Pierce and hit the subsequent jumper to get Knicks fans out of their seats. Shumpert also finished an alley-oop off the backboard (via Toure' Murry) in the fourth quarter that drew the attention of Knicks fans.

Shumpert finished with 11 points three steals and four rebounds.

Youth movement: Tuesday's game provided a platform for the Knicks' younger players to show if they fit in the team's future plans.

All three took advantage.

Cole Aldrich had 13 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes. Jeremy Tyler had eight points, two rebounds, an assist and a block in 20 minutes, and Murry finished with nine points, five assists and three steals in 20 minutes.

What's next: The Knicks finish the season on Wednesday against the Raptors.

Rapid Reaction: Knicks 109, Nets 98

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
10:55
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets look like they don't care about the regular season anymore, and the New York Knicks made them pay for it.

The Nets, looking sloppy and disinterested despite playing four starters, got waxed by the Knicks 109-98 Tuesday night at Barclays Center.

Brooklyn lost the season series to New York 3-1. All four games were blowouts.

What it means: The Nets (44-37) blew an opportunity to secure the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Their opponent and seeding will be decided on Wednesday night. Their magic number for the No. 5 seed is still one.

It appears Brooklyn checked out after beating Miami for the fourth time last Tuesday. Time will tell if it matters.

The Nets allowed the Knicks to shoot 52.4 percent from 3-point range. They had 20 turnovers. Iman Shumpert completed an off-the-backboard alley-oop.

Mason Plumlee has scored in double figures in a season-high four straight games. He had 16 points and nine rebounds Tuesday. Marcus Thornton scored 24 points.

Paul Pierce (13 points) became the only active NBA player to notch 15 straight seasons of at least 1,000 points scored when he hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter.

Deron Williams landed hard on his right side and came up limping after leaping out of bounds to save a loose ball in the second quarter. Williams remained in the game. He had 10 points and one assist in 30 minutes.

Joe Johnson (12 points) has hit at least one 3-pointer in 30 consecutive games -- a career and franchise best.

Kevin Garnett went scoreless in 15 minutes.

Of note: The Nets wore their Brooklyn Blue jerseys on Jackie Robinson Day.

Before the game: Brook Lopez got some shots up on the court. He was wearing a walking boot on his left ankle and a shoe on his surgically repaired right foot. Alan Anderson (sore abdominal muscle) told reporters he will likely play Wednesday.

DNPs: The Nets were without Mirza Teletovic, Shaun Livingston and Anderson. The Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony.

What's next: The Nets wrap up the regular season Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
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NEW YORK -- Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and the New York Knicks, playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony, beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-98 on Tuesday night to win the season series between city rivals.

The Knicks prevented the Nets from clinching the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and won their third straight in their too-little, too-late strong finish. Amar'e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each added 14 points.

Anthony had an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He won't play Wednesday against Toronto, the final game of the first season in his 11-year career that won't end with a playoff berth -- and potentially his last as a member of the Knicks. He has said he will become a free agent in July.

Marcus Thornton scored 24 points for the Nets, who weren't sharp despite playing starters Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The other starter, Shaun Livingston, remained sidelined with a sprained right big toe.


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Carmelo has small labrum tear

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
6:39
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NEW YORK -- Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has a small tear in his right labrum, the team announced.

No surgery is required.

Anthony will sit out the final two games of the season and will be re-evaluated in a month, the team said.

Anthony had been playing through pain in his right shoulder since aggravating the injury on April 2 against the Nets.

Coach Mike Woodson said an MRI taken earlier Tuesday revealed the tear. Woodson anticipates that Anthony will be able to resume basketball activity in a month.

"Obviously, he knew it was bothering him when he hurt it two weeks ago but he hung in with us trying to make this last push to get in the playoffs," Woodson said.

Anthony played in four games after initially hurting the shoulder, including a game Sunday against the Chicago Bulls after the Knicks were eliminated from playoff contention.

Anthony took a significant risk playing with the injury because he plans to test free agency this summer.

Anthony said recently that there was "no way" he would sit out games while the Knicks were in playoff contention.

Now that he is officially out for the final two games of the regular season, there is a chance that Sunday's game against Chicago was Anthony's final game with the Knicks.

The 30-year-old Anthony should have a number of suitors on the open market. The Knicks can sign him to a five-year contract worth $129,135,806. If he signs with another team, the maximum he can get is $95,897,372 over four years.


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Luol Deng wins citizenship award

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
3:05
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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Luol Deng has never once forgotten home.

He has spent much of his adult life trying to give back to his native South Sudan, the war-torn African nation the Cavaliers forward and his family fled when he was a young boy.

And while Deng's contributions have touched many, he knows the work will never end.

"I wish I could wake up tomorrow and nobody needs help," Deng said. "But we all know that's not going to happen. I'm just happy to be in the position that I'm in to be able to do the things that I'm able to do."

On Tuesday, Deng was commended for his compassion and dedication when he was named the winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given annually to an NBA player, coach or trainer for outstanding community service.

Deng has had a long commitment to philanthropic work in South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011 but has been ravaged by ethnic violence. The two-time All-Star, who came to Cleveland in a trade from Chicago in January, recently recorded a public service announcement for EnoughProject.org, urging peace in his homeland.

In a video directed at the nation's youth, Deng says, "Look around you, and reach out. Make peace among those who are fighting. Forgive one another and encourage others to forgive. Build trust with people who fear each other. You are young, and if you are wise, you will build bridges with people your age that will last a lifetime."

The video is a small sample of Deng's attempts to help others.

The 29-year-old also has established The Luol Deng Foundation, a global nonprofit organization using basketball as a platform to bring hope to those less fortunate in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. His work in Africa has focused on the construction of outdoor courts and initiatives to bring together local communities.


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W2W4: Nets vs. Knicks

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
12:55
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks wrap up their four-game, regular-season series on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. The Knicks lead the series 2-1. All three of the previous games were blowouts. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

Playoff scenario: So here’s the deal: the Nets (44-36) can clinch the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win over the Knicks. But regardless, they won’t know who their playoff opponent is until Wednesday night.

The remaining games for each team (all Wednesday night):

No. 5 Brooklyn: at Cleveland
No. 3 Toronto (48-33): at Knicks
No. 4 Chicago (48-33): at Charlotte
No. 6 Washington (43-38) at Boston

Tiebreakers: The Wizards have the tiebreaker over the Nets by virtue of their head-to-head record (3-0). The Raptors have the tiebreaker over the Bulls by virtue of their Atlantic Division title.

Who will play? The Nets are definitely without Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic. Teletovic's wife had twins. He will also miss Wednesday night's game.

Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce -- all game-time decisions -- will play.

The Knicks are without Carmelo Anthony, but Amar'e Stoudemire will play.

We’re taking over: Williams was asked again about the Nets being the only team in New York City playing playoff basketball. “It’s all part of the takeover,” Williams said, repeating what he previously said about how it’s good for Brooklyn’s brand.

Our bad: ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy criticized Johnson and Pierce for joking around and laughing late in their blowout loss on April 2 at Madison Square Garden. “He’s probably right,” Johnson said. “We shouldn’t have been laughing. I can’t remember honestly what Paul said, but it had to be super funny.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Brook Lopez
PTS AST STL MIN
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8

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