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Basketball news gathered from around the net.

Crawford Explodes As Knicks Storm Back To Beat Bulls

Wednesday's contest at Madison Square Garden was billed as the game that the player traded by the Bulls to New York would have his vengeance against his old team.  

It was, as former Bull Jamal Crawford led the charge at the start of the final period to erase an 8-point deficit and give New York the lead for good.  

These are two clubs with a number of players who recently played on the other?s team, none bigger than Knicks? center Eddy Curry.  But despite proclamations that he would be back to face the team that dealt him, Curry came out in street clothes after making a game-time decision to rest his sore calf another game.

Playing their second game in two nights, the Bulls may have wilted down the stretch.  The Knicks outscored the Bulls 35-19 in the fourth quarter after being solidly outplayed for the previous three.  The Bulls maintained a consistent edge of 7-12 points throughout the night with intense defense and good shots generated by their patient offense.

Besides fatigue setting in on the Bulls squad, the Knicks may have had the good fortune of two other turning points:  Coach Larry Brown?s decision to replace turnover-happy Malik Rose and Trevor Ariza?s power dunk to tie the game at 82 off the dish-back from Crawford on a fast break.  

Crawford had 28 points, Stephon Marbury had 18 points and 8 assists, and Channing Frye had 21 points and 8 rebounds, continuing his rookie surge.  Fellow rookie Nate Robinson joined Frye in the starting lineup and added 14 points.  

Chicago was led by Ben Gordon's 28 points, including 7-11 from the three-point line, and Andres Nocioni?s 19 points.  Michael Sweetney had 10 points and 4 rebounds in his return to the Garden.  Tyson Chandler, Curry?s friend and fellow lottery pick, fouled out with 0 points and 5 rebounds in 18 minutes of play.  This off-season, the Bulls rewarded Chandler with a long-term deal before trading Curry and Antonio Davis to New York for Sweetney, Tim Thomas and Jermaine Jackson.

Now Brown will confront the eternal quandary facing all coaches of multi-talented but inconsistent performers such as Crawford:  Getting them to ?play that way? and reach their stand-out potential on a regular basis.

Via Yahoo!

Curry Sits Against Former Mates

Eddy Curry didn't dress for Wednesday's game against his former club, the Chicago Bulls.

He is nursing a hurt calf.

Curry had hoped to be able to play against the Bulls, with whom he played his first four seasons.

Via RealGM

Watson Beginning To Settle In

Just when it appeared the Nuggets had blown $29 million so coach George Karl and general manager Kiki Vandeweghe could wage a petty fight, the poor guy caught in the middle of this spat saved his bosses from embarrassment.

Maybe Earl Watson is not a big waste of money after all.

In fact, before this basketball season is over, Watson could be the most valuable guard on the Nuggets roster.

"I never played for a coach who didn't love me," Watson said Saturday.

Before he could earn acceptance from fans, Watson fought merely to get noticed by Karl. The forgotten free agent finally has been discovered. The Invisible Man has got game. Who knew?

"I tried not to think about it, because if you think about it, you can build your own monster, make the negativity bigger than what it really is," said Watson, who was caught in the crossfire of NBA office politics.

Via Denver Post

Karl Suspended Two Games

Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl has been suspended two games without pay for publicly criticizing and attacking the integrity of the officials, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Senior Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred following the Nuggets 101-92 loss on Monday to the New Jersey Nets at Pepsi Center. Karl will serve his suspension tonight when the Nuggets host the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets and Friday while the team visits the Phoenix Suns.

Via Press Release

Patterson Prepared To Stay Inactive Unless He Gets 25 Minutes Per

Ruben Patterson on Tuesday said that he is prepared to spend the rest of the season on the inactive list unless the Trail Blazers find a way to play him 25 minutes a game.

Patterson, who was suspended last week for two games, then placed on the inactive list for complaining about his playing time, is scheduled to meet in Portland with Blazers general manager John Nash and coach Nate McMillan either Thursday or Friday.

Nash and McMillan on Tuesday said the meeting will be to determine whether Patterson can accept a reserve role in which he plays limited minutes behind Darius Miles and Zach Randolph. Patterson averaged 19.3 minutes in the first eight games this season -- down from the 28 minutes he averaged last season -- which included an average of 16.3 minutes in his past three games.

Nash said if Patterson can accept the role that McMillan envisions, he will be reinstated to the active list. But Patterson on Tuesday said he is not willing to continue to get fill-in minutes while the team continues its youth movement.

"I don't think my role of playing 13 or 15 minutes a game is acceptable," Patterson said from his home in Columbus, Ohio. "I deserve to play 25-plus minutes, but if they want me to play 12 minutes (like he did in his last game against New York), then they can just put me on the inactive list. I mean, those are rookie minutes."

McMillan said he can't foresee Patterson getting 25 minutes a game.

"I think those are starter minutes," McMillan said. "I don't know how you can give someone off the bench 25 minutes. I mean, he's at a position that Miles (38.5 minutes a game) and Zach (37.8 minutes) are playing."

Via Oregonian

Blount Hasn't Requested Trade

Much like Danny Ainge, Mark Bartlestein has treated the travails of his client ? Mark Blount ? as a situation that requires tact, not bluster.

To that end, the Chicago-based agent said yesterday that Blount has not requested a trade over his recent benching and apparent falling out with Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

?Nothing like that at all,? Bartlestein said. ?I talk with Danny all the time, and we?re just trying to work this out. Mark has shown that he can be a terrific player in this league. The team was losing, and he was frustrated. He just wants to help the team get going back in the right direction.?

Blount seconded that notion after practice and expressed both surprise and gratitude for the warm crowd reaction he received after coming in off the bench for Kendrick Perkins Monday.

?I was enjoying it,? he said. ?They were saying things like, ?Let?s go, Mark.? You never know what?s going to happen. They are the best fans.?

Blount is dealing with his new role off the bench.

?Whatever,? he said. ?I just have to do what I do. I?m just enjoying it. It?s not a problem for me.?

Of Bartlestein?s recent contact with Ainge, Blount said, ?My agent has made contact, and he?s keeping the airwaves open. As long as I?m here, I?m here. I don?t have a problem playing. It is what it is. I keep going.?

Via Boston Herald

Miami Interested In Bringing Back Lenard

Miami has shown some interest in former Heat guard Voshon Lenard, who has played sparingly for Denver recently.

But the Nuggets were not interested in taking on the last three years and $8.4 million of Michael Doleac's contract.

Via Herald

Smith Looking At Possible Knee Surgery

Joe Smith is giving serious consideration to having knee surgery.

Smith, who has been the team's starting power forward, has been plagued by knee problems since training camp. Smith told me last week he had his left knee drained and had also received a pain-kllling injection. The knee seemingly got better after the treatment, but in the last several days, the knee started flaring up again.

Smith didn't play against the Detroit Pistons last Saturday night at the Bradley Center, and he didn't play Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks at the BC.

"It's been frustrating,'' Smith said after the Mavericks' game. "It was getting better and then there were problems again. We've done all the necessary things ... If it doesn't get better sooner, that (surgery) would be the next thing to do. We're going to play it by ear.''

Via Journal Times

Bender Awaits Word On MRI

Indiana Pacers forward Jonathan Bender is awaiting word on MRI results that could determine whether he'll be able to continue his NBA career.

Bender, the fifth pick in the 1999 draft, has a loss of cartilage in both knees and has missed a significant number of games in each season since 2001-02.

He has played in just two games this season for a total of 21 minutes, and for the first time has not accompanied the team on a trip.

"We're going to see," Bender said when asked whether he thinks he will play again.

"I'm not going to even talk about that yet."

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said Tuesday that the results of Bender's latest MRIs have been sent to his agent in Los Angeles, and that a meeting with Bender and doctors is scheduled for next week. Bender's agent, Thaddeus Fucher, did not return phone calls Tuesday.

"Right now, we're putting his tests in front of people to get opinions on where they think he is," Walsh said. "When we have enough information, we'll make a statement."
Bender said he remains optimistic, but he has little medical evidence on which to base that hope.

"That's just the way I am," he said.

"I'll see what the MRI shows compared to last year."

Via Indy Star

Gordon Denies He's Unhappy With Role Off Bench

Bulls guard Ben Gordon was caught off guard Tuesday by an Internet report that said he's unhappy with his role and wants to become a starter.

''I don't know what that was,'' Gordon said before the Bulls played the Orlando Magic on Tuesday at the United Center. ''It didn't come from me. I don't know nothing about it.''

Via Chicago Sun-Times

Knicks Interested In ..... Tim Thomas

Bosh Deflecting Contract Talk

Chris Bosh yesterday again deflected any contract talk, saying he wants to see how things go this season before he figures out if Toronto is the place for him in the long term.

Skiles Dismisses Larry Feud

Redd Misses Game With Quad Contusion

T-Mac Lifts Off

Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady started Tuesday night against Atlanta after missing the last five games because of a back injury.

Brunson Expected To Miss Two More Months

Curry Back, Then Davis Out?

Bulls Roll In Texas; Chandler Under Health Watch

Ronnie Price Has Talent

Utah Likely To Get AK-47 Back In Lineup

Hill To Return To Practice By The End Of The Week

Magic forward Grant Hill likely will begin practicing with the club by the end of next week.

Bucks Show Interest In Lenard

Ainge Laughs Off Olowokandi Rumors

MRI On Carmelo Comes Back Negative

Curry Looks To Return Against Old Team

Hill Close To Practicing With Magic Next Week

Wade: Larry Just Meddled Too Much

Terry Lifts The Mavs At Buzzer

Thomas Unofficially Done In Chicago

Operations chief John Paxson announced Monday that he and Tim Thomas have reached a mutual understanding in which Thomas no longer will be an active member of the team but will remain on the roster for the time being.

Shaq Hopes To Return Within Two Weeks

Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said Friday his sprained right ankle is progressing and "hopefully" he will be "be back in a week, two weeks."
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