TIM HARDAWAY JR. scored 16 points and the New York Knicks, playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony, beat the Brooklyn Nets, 109-98, last 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. Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each added 14 points.
Anthony had an MRI exam yesterday that revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He won't play tonight 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.
"We've chatted a little bit and I feel for him more than anybody, because the kind of season that he had, he deserves to be in the playoffs and I feel bad about that. I do," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
Anthony initially hurt the shoulder earlier this month but kept playing as the Knicks were trying to rally to grab the No. 8 seed.
The Knicks said he would not require surgery at this point and would be evaluated in about a month.
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.
The Nets still have a magic number of one for finishing fifth. But they could fall to No. 6 if they lose tonight in Cleveland and Washington beats Boston.
* Cleveland forward Luol Deng won the J. Walter Kennedy Award, given annually to an NBA player for community service.
Deng has had a long commitment to philanthropic work in his native South Sudan. His recent public service announcement for EnoughProject.org urges peace in his homeland. Deng also established a charitable foundation in Britain, which granted his family political asylum.
Cavs coach Mike Brown says Deng's award is "well-deserved. He has an amazing story."