New York, New York: Knicks, Nets meet Monday


New York, New York: Knicks, Nets meet Monday

NEW YORK (AP) From Madison Square Garden to the Garden State, the Knicks cast a shadow the Nets could never escape.

The Knicks were considered first rate and the Nets second class, even in years when the better team was in New Jersey. The Nets would watch fans in orange and blue take over their home games, believing all along things would be different when they finally got their shot at the Knicks in Brooklyn.

Well, here it comes.

The city rivals play the makeup of their postponed season opener on Monday, a matchup the Knicks insist is just another game but one that's probably much bigger to the Nets.

``I think obviously being on center stage tomorrow night, all eyes on Brooklyn, truly makes this a very special night for us because it's something that we worked for, for so long,'' Nets CEO Brett Yormark said Sunday. ``Even though it's not opening night, it's a dramatic night. I mean, the Knicks are playing well, the Nets are playing well, Brooklyn's certainly embraced this franchise, and I think tomorrow night is hopefully the start of some really special nights between the Nets and the Knicks.

``Yeah, I'd love to win the game, but it's more than that. It's about making a statement that this franchise has arrived and we are certainly part of the conversation when people are talking about pro basketball in New York.''

Yormark sought to host the Knicks for the Barclays Center opener and that's what the NBA scheduled, but the game was postponed when Superstorm Sandy halted most subway travel to Brooklyn. It becomes in some ways more intriguing now with both teams off to strong starts, the Knicks (9-3) leading the Atlantic Division by one game over the Nets (8-4).

First matchup, first place on the line. Sounds big enough for a regular-season game, just don't call it a rivalry. At least, not yet.

``I think that word's been thrown around. I think we hope that it does become that, but you know the Brooklyn Nets are apparently different than the New Jersey Nets and this is a new beginning,'' Knicks forward Steve Novak said. ``So I think to call it a rivalry before it started is a little bit early, but I don't think there's any question it's going to be a good game.''

Among the Knicks, only Carmelo Anthony, a Brooklyn native whom the Nets desperately tried to acquire to be the franchise centerpiece for their move, seemed to view the game as anything special. Jason Kidd, who led the Nets to their greatest NBA success back when they owned the Knicks but never the New York area, called it ``just another game on the road.''

``I've been saying consistently that a rivalry comes through playoffs and hard-fought games. It just doesn't come from a team moving and two good teams in one year. It has to go throughout history,'' Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. ``Honestly, I don't buy too much into the whole situation, the rivalry. I don't consider it a rivalry. I don't think - it hasn't been enough. Honestly, I feel more animosity towards the Heat and the Celtics than I do the Nets.''

But the Nets, even the ones who didn't endure the many miserable years in New Jersey, know what it means to the franchise and their fans, many of them new and some of them even Knicks fans who converted.

``It should be a hostile environment for them so to speak,'' Nets guard Joe Johnson said. ``I think it will be fun. I think everybody has been waiting for this moment and we're going to come out and protect the home court.''

Games in New Jersey, where the Nets played in multiple spots for 35 years after leaving Long Island, often felt like Madison Square Garden West. Knicks fans sometimes appeared to make up two-thirds of the crowds, Knicks players trying to hide their amusement and the Nets their frustration.

The Nets think they've got a much stronger fan base now, with about 11,000 season tickets sold, and they know they'll see a good balance of fans dressed in their black Monday night.

``There's definitely going to be some Knicks fans in there, but I don't think it will be as bad as it was last year and the year before that,'' Nets guard Deron Williams said.

The game will be televised on TNT and Yormark said some 100 media members are expected. The Nets, 6-1 in their $1 billion arena, may have to guard against being too hyped up - though that won't be a problem for at least one of them.

``You're talking to a person, this is my 11th year in the league. I've played the Knicks about 100 times. It's just another game to be honest with you,'' forward Reggie Evans said. ``I think it's big for a lot of people on the outside, but we just approach the game like a regular game. If we win we're not going to be all in the middle of the court like `Oh, oh!' We're not going to be popping no champagne.''

Former Nets coach Lawrence Frank said the series always lacked the competitiveness to be a true rivalry, because the Knicks beat the Nets for so many years but then almost never did when Kidd was there from 2001-08. Now, he says, it could finally get there with both teams on a similar upward path.

``It's good for the metropolitan area when both teams are doing well, it just hasn't happened a whole lot when both teams were good at the same time. They've kind of taken turns,'' said Frank, now coaching Detroit. ``Now that they're both highly competitive, I think it's good for the area.''

Even the Knicks acknowledge the rapid rise of their rivals, Anthony saying he's watched their games and gotten goose bumps when fans chant ``Brook-lyn! Brook-lyn!'' They will get a good look at the Nets with the teams meeting three times over the next 3 1/2 weeks, twice in Brooklyn.

Perhaps those other ones will feel like regular games for everyone, as the Knicks say they are. For now, the first one isn't to the team that now shares their city.

``In an 82-game schedule, the way I look at it, every game's important, but there are those special games, you know what I mean?'' Yormark said. ``And tomorrow I think is one of those special games. It means a little bit more.''


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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5


Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

For well over six seasons, Manny Machado's value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.

All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.

Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.

Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"Obviously there's a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that," Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it."

Plain and simple, the Orioles can't afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.

"A month ago he wouldn't have come out of the game," Showalter acknowledged. "We know that. You know it."

After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.

"I don't know why (Showalter) did it or not," Machado said. "He just told me, `I'm going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'"

Machado is Baltimore's lone representative for Tuesday's showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don't appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.

"I'm going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It's just always a blessing," Machado said. "I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it's just been very incredible."

In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones' bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.

"I'll be fine," said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. "I'll reflect a little bit and then get back to it."

The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

"Textbook," Showalter said.

Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a "situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well."

Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.

Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.

Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.

It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.


Choo opened the game with a walk, extending to 51 his single-season club record streak of games reaching base via a hit, walk or HBP. ... Texas' Delino DeShields went 0 for 3, stretching his hitless drought to 28 at-bats. ... Jones snapped a 1-for-16 skid with his third-inning double.


Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara was given the day off after hurting his hand Saturday night in the outfield.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) was set to make his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) and OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) likely won't come off the DL before August, Showalter said. ... RHP Andrew Cashner (neck strain) will be activated from the DL on Saturday or Sunday to face Toronto, Showalter said.


Rangers: The rotation after the All-Star break, beginning Friday against visiting Cleveland: Martin Perez, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo and Minor.

Orioles: After the All-Star break, Dylan Bundy will start at Toronto on Friday night.

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1


Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner each hit a two-run single in Washington's five-run seventh inning, helping the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-1 on Sunday.

Matt Adams added two hits and scored a run as Washington salvaged a split of its four-game set against New York. A preseason favorite to win the NL East and contend for a World Series championship, the disappointing Nationals hit the All-Star break with a 48-48 record, good for third in the division.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) pitched six crisp innings in his second straight win. The veteran right-hander allowed one run and two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Jose Reyes drove in Michael Conforto with a fielder's choice in the second, tying it at 1, but Washington grabbed control in the seventh.

Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon opened the inning with walks against Anthony Swarzak (0-2). Tim Peterson then came in and surrendered singles to Adams and Murphy, who came off the bench to hit for Michael A. Taylor.

Jerry Blevins replaced Peterson with two out and runners on second and third. But he hit Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton before Turner's single gave Washington a 6-1 lead.

New York wasted a solid start by Corey Oswalt, who allowed two hits in five innings. The Mets got off to a fast start this year, but hit the break last in the division with a 39-55 record, a percentage point behind fourth-place Miami.


A steady drizzle delayed the start by 47 minutes.


Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Potomac. He allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one. Strasburg has been on the disabled list since June 10.

Mets: Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled to play five simulated innings in left field at the team's facility in Florida on Monday. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the 32-year-old outfielder, who has been sidelined by a right hip flexor and strained quadriceps, could return as the designated hitter next weekend against the Yankees If he is able to play on consecutive days.


The Nationals recalled right-hander Trevor Gott from Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Austin Voth, who took the loss in his big league debut Saturday, was sent back to Syracuse.