With their leading scorer back on the court, the New York Knicks can breathe a bit easier and will shoot for a measure of revenge against the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night from Barclays Center.
Carmelo Anthony, the third leading scorer in the NBA with 26.8 ppg, missed two games in a row after needing stitches to close a cut on the middle finger of his left hand. He returned in Sunday's 112-106 victory over the Denver Nuggets and posted 34 points on 10-of-24 shooting.
"As the game went on, I started feeling more comfortable," Anthony said.
Anthony reached the 30-point mark for the sixth time this season and has led New York in scoring 17 times. He's also leading the league in first quarter scoring with 9.8 points. New York is averaging 26.6 points in the opening 12 minutes this season and is fifth with 102.8 ppg.
Jason Kidd finished with 17 points and seven assists in the recent win for the Knicks, who improved to 8-0 at home this season and have won six of seven games overall. It's their best start at home since opening the 1992-93 season with nine straight wins.
The Knicks have been a stingy bunch under coach Mike Woodson, whose squad is allowing 95.2 ppg and leads the NBA with the least amount of turnovers per game, turning the ball over just 10.9 times.
New York's 15-5 start is the best since the 1995-96 campaign and this is the first time the Knicks have been 10 games over .500 since April 2001. After visiting the Nets, the Knicks will return to Madison Square Garden for six straight games versus the Lakers, Cavaliers, Rockets, Nets, Bulls and Timberwolves.
On the injury front for New York, forward Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot) is listed as questionable for Tuesday.
Brooklyn has hit the skids recently, losing four in a row since a five-game winning streak. The Nets have also dropped three straight at home and suffered a 97-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday.
Gerald Wallace posted a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Deron Williams registered 18 points and eight assists for Brooklyn, which struggled behind the arc and hit only 7-of-25 3-pointers. Andray Blatche tallied 11 points and six boards, and Joe Johnson wasn't much of a factor with six points in defeat.
The Nets rallied in the second half and outscored Milwaukee, 33-22, in the final stanza. However, it wasn't enough to stop Brooklyn's slide. The Nets committed 22 turnovers, leading to 20 Milwaukee points.
"We had a really bad second quarter and didn't take care of the ball. We had too many turnovers and missed shots," Nets coach Avery Johnson told the team's website. "We can't play one half and beat anybody. I'm proud of the effort in the second half but I'm not proud of the game overall."
Brooklyn is 7-4 at home and will visit Toronto Wednesday night.
Nets center Brook Lopez has missed five straight games with a sprained right foot and is questionable versus the Knicks. Lopez is averaging 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds this season, and was back at practice Monday.
"I'm feeling good," Lopez told the team's website. "It was great to go through an entire practice. I wasn't sure I'd be able to ... not necessarily because of whatever happened with my foot, but just my conditioning."
Johnson added that the chances of Lopez playing tonight are "not very high."
Lopez played in the first matchup with the Knicks this season, a 96-89 overtime triumph on Nov. 26, and led the Nets with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Wallace and Williams both had 16 points, while Anthony pumped in 35 for New York, which has won six of the last eight meetings in this series.