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Ups and downs dog Knicks, debilitating injuries decimate Nets

Richard Carter | 10/12/2012, 4:17 p.m.
"Welcome to tomorrow..."-Powers Boothe, "By Dawn's Early Light" (1990) At times during the 2009-2010 season,...
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If there is no Howard trade, the Nets still could sign him as a free agent in the summer and enter Brooklyn with a dominant, youthful starting front line of Howard, Lopez and 6-foot-9 Humphries. The latter is a rough, tough rebounding machine. In addition, one of owner Prokhorov's Russian buddies-6-foot-9 free agent veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko-is also rumored to be headed to Brooklyn.

Now the Knicks. Their heavily hyped duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire has fallen short of the lofty expectations, considering their record that, in late January and early February, reached 11 defeats in 13 games. And while tough Tyson Chandler-a defense-first 7-foot-1 center obtained from the champion Dallas Mavericks-has helped the three-pronged "Broadway Bigs" have bombed out.

As usual, a big problem was Anthony's early season ball hogging. Although one of the league's top scorers, his teammates have taken to standing around as he seeks to get a shot up. Interestingly, when nagging injuries have kept Anthony off the floor of late, the team has been much more successful. Hmmm...

Meanwhile, Stoudemire has made it clear that he is unhappy about becoming the second scoring option after last season, when he clearly was the team's leader and was talked about as a candidate for the NBA's Most Valuable Player. If he can return to form-and Anthony passes the ball as often as he shoots-the Knicks might live up to expectations.

At this juncture, coach Mike D'Antoni remains on the hot seat-with many fans calling for him to be fired-but under the heading of strange things are happening, the unexpected emergence of Lin-a young, 6-foot-3 Chinese-American scoring playmaker-could save D'Antoni's job. Lin has led the team to impressive wins in his first five games.

Bottom line: The Nets' best hope is the arrival of Howard, who is nicknamed "Superman" for the cape he wore while winning the slam dunk contest at a recent All-Star Game. On the other hand, the much healthier Knicks-augmented by Lin's moxie and unselfish play-could very well make the playoffs and live up to their hype.

The Manhattan-Brooklyn rivalry will be the best thing to ever happen for both teams and for city pro hoops fans.