(Sports Network) - The New York Knicks may have to try and extend their best
home start in 20 years without superstar Carmelo Anthony on Saturday night
when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Anthony is among the league leaders with 27.9 points per game this season and
has netted at least 30 in three straight contests since sitting out two in a
row because of a finger injury.
The forward scored 45 points in a win at Brooklyn on Dec. 11 and seemed on his
way to eclipsing that number on Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers before
exiting in the third quarter of a 116-107 win with an ankle injury.
Anthony still had 30 points in the win, including 22 in a 41-point first
quarter. He made his first four shots of the opening frame, the first three
coming from behind the arc.
"I was just going. I was zoned in. I was locked in. Tonight was one of those
games where I had that feeling. I wanted to get it going early. My teammates
early on were kind of feeding off that," said Anthony, who was forced to leave
the game with 6:54 left in the third following a foul by the Lakers' Dwight
Anthony is questionable for Saturday night as New York plays the second of a
Raymond Felton added 19 points and eight assists, while Tyson Chandler and
J.R. Smith each donated 18 points as the Knicks won their third straight and
for the eighth time in nine games.
New York also improved to 9-0 at home this season, its best start since also
winning its first nine in 1992-93. The Knicks last won their first 10 as the
hosting club a season earlier with an 11-0 start.
The Cavs had such promise when star point guard and reigning Rookie of the
Year Kyrie Irving returned. Irving came back to the Cleveland lineup on
Tuesday and co-led the Cavs to a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The next night, the Cavs fell hard in Indiana, 96-81 to the Pacers. On Friday,
Cleveland nearly overcame a 16-point, first-half deficit, but couldn't do
What also hampered any chance for success for the Cavaliers was their
inability to take care of the basketball. Cleveland posted an NBA-high for the
season, 27 turnovers, in the loss.
"It's pretty simple. When you come out with the lack of energy and lack of
effort that we came out with, and you commit 27 turnovers, you're not going to
win a whole lot of games," Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott said.
Irving led the way for the Cavs, both in scoring (26) and turnovers (6).
Anderson Varejao had eight points and 18 rebounds. He left the game in the
second quarter with a bruised leg, but X-rays were negative and the league's
best rebounder returned in the third quarter.
Rookie guard Dion Waiters missed his seventh straight with an ankle sprain and
isn't expected to play on Saturday. Omri Casspi, who sat out two tilts with
the flu, could be back against the Knicks.
The Knicks and Cavaliers split four meetings a season ago, with each team
winning twice on its home court. Cleveland has won 13 of the last 16
encounters overall, but has dropped three straight in New York.
The Sports Network