Melo Leading The Way, But For How Long?
As soon as Carmelo Anthony found out that Amare Stoudemire would be out indefinitely, the star forward proclaimed he would "just have to step it up."
He's done nothing but that, dropping 28 on the Bucks in a win Monday night and then following it up with 25 points in 26 minutes in the Knicks blowout win over Orlando on Wednesday.
The only problem will be getting him not to miss any more time with the strained right groin that's popped up again for the second time this season.
A red flag should be up because he strained it on Feb. 6 and missed seven straight games. But he did say it's not as serious this time around.
Stoudemire could return in the playoffs as he gets rest and treatment for the bulging disc in his lower back. Jeremy Lin has also missed the last two games and is day to day with a sore left knee. A right knee inflammation has also kept Jared Jeffries out of the last four games.
The Knicks are 8-1 with Mike Woodson running the show in place of Mike D'Antoni. And while they're still running the same offense, Woodson has featured Anthony more, isolating him a lot and also making sure he gets it in the post where he can overpower defenders.
The scoring touch he lacked under D'Antoni somehow is back, but critics say it's because the team including Anthony is playing harder for Woodson than they ever did for D'Antoni.
It will be just as interesting when Stoudemire returns. Do they have him come in with the second unit? But that's a topic for another day.
Cavs' injured Varejao: "I want to play."
Anderson Varejao could just call it a season, let his right wrist heal completely and just return next year for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If it's up to the Brazilian center, he’d return as soon as he's medically cleared to, perhaps as early April when he can practice, and play in Cleveland's final games before the season comes to an end on April 26.
"I am part of the team and I want to help even if we don't have any more chance at making the playoffs," Varejao said to reporters Wednesday.
"I want to play. That's what I get paid to do. Last year I was hurt and this season I got hurt too. I want to play."
Varejao broke his right wrist Feb. 10 against Milwaukee and has been out ever since. He's averaged 10.8 points and 11.8 rebounds this season.
It's the second straight season in which he's missed most of the year. He played in only 31 games last year after he tore a tendon in his right foot.
The Cavaliers were in postseason contention but have fallen out of the race without their big man around to enforce the paint and help out Kyrie Irving, the league's top pick in last year's draft, who hasn't disappointed and has carried the team by himself.
If he does or doesn't play this season, Varejao said he would suit up for Brazil in the London Olympics Games this summer.
"If I'm healthy, I will play in London."
Nuggets Might Get Rudy Back
The Nuggets could actually have forward Rudy Fernández back in action in the postseason after the Spaniard underwent successful back surgery Thursday, the team said.
The swingman injured his back during a game against Dallas on March 19.
Fernández has appeared in only 31 games this season for Denver and at one point missed 11 straight games due to a lower back strain. He's averaged 8.6 points as of one the team's most reliable players of the bench.
After three rocky seasons in Portland in which former Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan and Fernández clearly never saw eye to eye, he was dealt to Dallas on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft, 11 days after the Mavericks won their NBA title.
They saw him as an important piece to a repeat but he became expendable once the Mavs acquired Lamar Odom.
Delfino: Talks Monta Ellis; Playoffs and Nocioni
A lot can be said about the job Scott Skiles has done with the Milwaukee Bucks in keeping them in contention for the playoffs, staying in it this long without the injured center Andrew Bogut, who was traded to Golden State for Monta Ellis, and an unhappy Stephen Jackson, who was also included in the Bogut-Ellis deal and just didn't perform to his and everyone else’s standards.
Carlos Delfino still thinks the Bucks can crack the eight teams that will keep on playing in the postseason while the rest of the teams in the league begin an early start to their summer vacation.
Lately the Bucks have hit a rut as they try to chase down the New York Knicks. After winning six straight, they have lost three of their last five.
Although they lost an All-Star caliber center in Bogut and a scorer in Jackson, Delfino likes his chances with Ellis' addition to the Bucks, especially with Brandon Jennings in the backcourt.
"He gives us a lot of points. He brings with him the ability to put up a lot of points and a lot of assists. His game is very dynamic," Delfino told Fox News Latino this week in New York. "He runs the court. He brings some pepper to our game. His talent is unquestionable."
While they don't have a big presence inside the paint, Delfino says it's his job along with Drew Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova to adapt and help.
The Bucks have a favorable schedule ahead and can gain some ground over the Knicks, who have a 2 1/2 game advantage and are in eighth place.
Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc.