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NBA East Roundup: Heat Pick Up Chris “Birdman” Andersen, Battle in New York

The Miami Heat (26-12) currently sit at the top of the Eastern Conference with their last win coming on Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers (17-23), 99-90. They’ll resume play for the week on Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors (15-26).

In the interim, they signed veteran forward Chris “Birdman” Andersen to a 10-day contract on Sunday and hope he can be the answer to their rebounding problems.

On Monday, it will be the battle of the New York teams as the New York Knicks (25-13) will play the Brooklyn Nets (24-16) at Madison Square Garden. Since it’s a holiday, the teams have an afternoon game (3:30 p.m. ET) and will keep this traditional meeting alive for the 14th consecutive year.

Heat Sign Chris “Birdman” Andersen to Short Contract

Heat forward Chris Andersen

Shaking off the dust, Andersen will try to help the Heat improve their No. 29 league ranking in rebounds per game.

A 10-year league veteran, Andersen last played with Denver Nuggets in March 2012 during the 2011-12 season. He played in 32 games for them and averaged 5.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocked shots in just 15.2 minutes of play, according to ProBasketballTalk.com.

His waiver by the team came through the amnesty provision from the new collective bargaining agreement; this enabled the Nuggets to take his remaining two-year, $9.3 million contract off its books. Andersen has battled a number of off-the-court issues.

He joined the Heat in practice on Sunday and said of the opportunity via ESPN, “This opportunity and being with the defending champs, it’s a dream come true. They’re taking a chance with me and I’m here to give them everything I’ve got, defensively, diving on the floor, blocking shots, you know, the usual that a Birdman does and what Birdman brings.”

In August, the player had his left knee scoped but he was able to continue working out as he waited for the phone to ring. How it feels hasn’t been disclosed but it can’t feel too bad as its covered in tattoos.

Will Andersen’s return help Miami to live up to their +200 chances to win the championship in June?

Brooklyn vs. New York

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

Knicks Carmelo Anthony will play in his first Martin Luther King Day match up between the Knicks and the Nets on Monday.

He’s been on a roll this season and has been cited as a MVP candidate. This comes from his minimum of 20 points over 25 consecutive games. This represents the longest streak in his career.

The player has attributed some of his good play to his team and said via ESPN, “I’ve been on some good teams, had good players on some of the teams that I’ve played with. But as far as being a complete team from top to bottom, this is the best team I’ve been a part of.”

Against Brooklyn this season, Anthony has a 37.0 point average and a 2-1 record.

The Nets are excited and confident for this holiday match up as they enter it just two games behind the first-place Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

In their Dec. 19 meeting, they lost 100-86 and eight days later their coach Avery Johnson had been fired. They’re playing under P.J. Carlesimo and have gone 10-2 under him.

Getting beat by the Knicks the last two times is motivation and Brooklyn guard Joe Johnson said “we owe them.”

Unfortunately Johnson hasn’t played well against them (13.7 points and 37.5 percent shooting averages). His teammate point guard Raymond Felton is out on Monday with a broken right pinky finger and former Net Jason Kidd will pinch hit for him.

For the Knicks, Iman Shumpert will be back and brought some excitement upon his return on Thursday.

The Nets have some momentum entering the game but things may happen in threes with the winning nod going to the Knicks (-4, 194.5 o/u).


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