Knicks add Bender

New York signed free agent Jonathan Bender yesterday, marking the oft-injured forward's return to the NBA after a three-year absence.

The 7-footer enjoyed his best season in 2001-02, averaging career highs of 7.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 78 games.

But injuries forced him to miss 172 games over the next three seasons before chronic knee pain sidelined himindefinitely in February 2006.

Bender was selected out of high school by Toronto with the fifth overall pick in the 1999 draft and was subsequently traded to Indiana.

Richardson out

Quentin Richardson was held out of Miami's game against Memphis last night with a sore right hamstring.

Yakhouba Diawara, who played in only one of Miami's first 21 games, started at forward.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade was in the lineup despite being bothered by a sore right wrist. Miami also had center Jermaine O'Neal back after a two-game absence for a family funeral.

Ailing Net

Coach Kiki Vandeweghe said New Jersey is awaiting results of an MRI exam that Chris Douglas-Roberts had on his left knee.

Vandeweghe said he was not sure how Douglas-Roberts, who scored seven points in 38 minutes of a 107-91 loss Friday at Indiana, was injured.

Douglas-Roberts is averaging 16.2 points.

Trenton Hassell started in the small-forward spot last night against Atlanta.

Hassell had 13 points as the Nets fell to an NBA-worst 2-22 record.

- Associated Press