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Knicks stun play-off bound Nets Clippers down Nuggets for club-record 57th win

NEW YORK, April 16, (AFP): The New York Knicks, missing injured Carmelo Anthony, beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-98 Tuesday to keep their cross-town rivals from securing the fifth seed in the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. Tim Hardaway scored 16 points to lead the Knicks, who are finishing strong despite already being eliminated from post-season contention. The Knicks announced prior to the contest that Anthony would miss the remaining two games of their season after an MRI exam revealed he had a small tear in his right shoulder. The injury won’t require surgery and Anthony will be re-evaluated in a month, the Knicks said. It’s the first time in his 11-year NBA career that Anthony — who could be a free agent later this year — hasn’t made the playoffs.

“I have a lot to think about,” Anthony told broadcaster TNT before the game, although he has said in the past he wants to remain a Knick. Anthony averaged 27.4 points and career-high 8.1 rebounds this season. He played with the shoulder injury for a fortnight trying to help the Knicks for about two weeks as they fought in vain for a playoff spot. “The kind of season that he had he deserves to be in the playoffs,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “I feel bad about that.” Amare Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Shannon Brown scored 14 points apiece for the Knicks and Cole Aldrich added 13 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Thornton netted 24 points for the Nets, who could have secured the fifth seed in the East with a win. Brooklyn can still capture the fifth seed in the conference ahead of the Washington Wizards, but they’ll fall to sixth if they lose Wednesday in Cleveland and Washington beat Boston.

Clippers 117, Nuggets 105
Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Clippers rolled past Denver 117-105 on Tuesday for a club-record 57th win that kept their hopes of claiming the NBA Western Conference second seed alive. Blake Griffin had 24 points — and was assessed his 16th technical foul of the season — in the victory. Chris Paul added 21 points and 10 assists for Los Angeles, who must beat Portland on Wednesday, the last night of the regular season, and have the lowly Detroit Pistons beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City to earn the second seed behind San Antonio in the Western Conference playoffs. DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points and pulled down 16 rebounds for the Clippers, who snapped the Nuggets’ three-game winning streak. Kenneth Faried had 21 points and six rebounds and Timofey Mozgov contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds for Denver.

Griffin was assessed the technical foul with 3:23 left in the second quarter, when he tried to swipe the ball away from a driving Mozgov and hit him in the head. Griffin’s 16th technical of the season will trigger a one-game suspension on Wednesday under NBA rules — unless league officials overturn the “T” upon review of the play. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said it would make no difference to his plans, since he wanted Griffin to skip the trip to Portland anyway. “Worst case, he’s suspended for one game,” Rivers said. “I’m not going to bring him tomorrow anyway. I want Blake to stay home and get some rest. He’s so banged-up.”
Rivers was pleased to see his team improve on their previous regular-season record of 56 wins — set last season before a first-round playoff exit — but he said the real goal remains a title.
“I’m very happy that we’re doing this stuff, but it’s not what we want,” he said.

British Cleveland Cavaliers’ basketball player Luol Deng was honored Tuesday with the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. The award, presented by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, recognizes an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community. Deng recently recorded a public service message for the, urging peace during a time of renewed conflict in his native South Sudan. In the video, he tells young people to make peace among those fighting, encourage others to forgive and build trust with people who fear each other. The two-time All-Star created the Luol Deng Foundation, a global non-profit organization that uses basketball as a platform to give hope to the disadvantaged in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The work in Africa focuses on building outdoor basketball courts and delivering initiatives to bring together local communities. In the United Kingdom, where Deng’s family moved after fleeing Sudan, the program focuses on providing opportunities to take part in basketball camps and other events with the goal of increasing participation in the sport at both the grassroots and elite levels. In the United States, Deng’s work in the community has largely involved the two cities where he has played in the NBA — Chicago and Cleveland — where he provides meals and hosts holiday events for families.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for any award, but this one is special because it represents who I am as a person and where I came from,” Deng said in a statement released by the Cavaliers. “What I’m most proud of is that my family can look back after my career is over and realize that I was able to make a difference on and off the basketball court.” Deng was taken seventh overall by Phoenix in the 2004 NBA Draft and spent nine seasons with the Chicago Bulls, who traded him to Cleveland in January.

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