Heat-Knicks provide oasis post-Sandy

GREENBURGH -- Holding sporting events in New York is a sensitive subject in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Thousands are without power and hundreds have lost homes during the storm. The public transportation system in New York is in disarray.

So some have suggested that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NBA should cancel the Knicks-Heat game on Friday night.

Others, though, believe that holding the game can somehow help Knicks fans during these difficult times.

Knicks shooting guard Ronnie Brewer isn't so sure.

"I mean, it’s hard to say. It’s just a game," Brewer said. ".... There’s people without electricity, people without homes, people who lost loved ones.

"So I still think our heart goes out to them. We’ve got to focus on the task at hand. Hopefully this game can uplift some people and give some people in New York something to cheer about.

"You know, after that game it goes back to real life. There’s still people in New York struggling and still need some relief. I think that’s important."

To that end, the NBA and NBPA announced on Thursday that they'd donated $1 million to groups assisting those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

"Many homes and lives were devastated by Hurricane Sandy and our thoughts, abiding concerns and hopes are with all those affected," NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement.

Earlier in the week, Bloomberg decided, in conjunction with the league, to postpone Thursday's Knicks-Nets opener at the Barclays Center.

So the Knicks will now open the season at home against the defending champion Heat on Friday.

Steve Novak hopes he can help take fans' minds off of the effects of Sandy for a few hours.

"Because of the way this year is starting, I think it’s going to be even more emotional," Novak said. "Because of the hurricane and all that, I feel like people from New York almost need a release.

"The Garden is going to be a getaway from that for a little bit. It’s hard to know what to expect -- a full house, which we would almost always expect just because that’s the way it is at the Garden. But now with the hurricane this changes everything up so I don’t know what to expect."

BREWER'S KNEE FINE, WORKING ON CONDITIONING: Brewer underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in early September and missed the Knicks' first four preseason games. He said on Thursday that, after two preseason games and several practices, his knee feels fine. But it seems like he's still working on his conditioning.

"We’ve just got to monitor it," Brewer said. "If my knee bothers me I get subbed.... I’m just going to play as hard as I possibly can in spurts and if I get a sub, get a sub."

Brewer and Mike Woodson are confident that Brewer can work on his conditioning in-season. The Knicks, Woodson says, are deep enough in the backcourt to play Brewer limited minutes early on.

"Coach Woodson is going to monitor me. I’m going to be vocal with him when I need a sub and when I can be back out there," Brewer said. "These are high caliber guys we’re facing. I’ve got to be fresh, my legs under me. It’s going to be a good test for me. I think it’s going to be a good test for everybody on this team."

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