The New York Knicks hope to have Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup Thursday night when they welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to Madison Square Garden.
Anthony hurt his knee Monday in a win at Cleveland against the Cavaliers. He left in the second quarter of that game after he tripped over himself and bent his knee awkwardly.
"Just sore -- not pain -- sore and stiffness," Anthony said after the game Monday. "They did manual tests, like ligament tests and there's no problems. It was just real tight, real sore in the back. I didn't really have the control I wanted to in that leg tonight."
Anthony missed the Knicks' victory Wednesday night in Detroit over the Pistons. Head coach Mike Woodson indicated before the game that Anthony has a "fluid build-up" in his right knee and that his return to the lineup was up to Anthony.
"He's going to have to make that commitment," Woodson said. "If he wants to sit down and rest a game or two we'll do that. It's a long season."
Anthony's status for Thursday's huge contest against the Thunder, the team with the NBA's third-best winning percentage, is unknown.
If Anthony could go, the game would feature the league's two best scorers in Anthony and Kevin Durant. The two are separated by a mere 0.4 ppg.
The Knicks finished off an undefeated road trip with wins over Cleveland and Detroit. They trailed by a significant margin in both, but battled back for the victory.
On Wednesday, New York won the final frame, 22-12 and held the Pistons to just 39 points in the second half. Raymond Felton, Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith all went over the 20-point mark, but the team was uncharacteristically sloppy with the basketball.
The Knicks are among the NBA's best at committing the fewest turnovers. On Wednesday, they had 21, including seven from Felton, and in stark contrast, the Thunder only had two turnovers in their last outing, a win over the Los Angeles Lakers. That number matched an NBA record.
"It was just one of those games that we don't turn the ball over," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said afterwards. "It's a great game offensively for us."
The Thunder have also won two in a row and five of their last six. They've not only been good lately, they've been dominant. In their last four wins, the average margin of victory has been 27.0 points.
They blew the Lakers out at home to the tune of 122-105 and the catalyst of late has been Russell Westbrook. He scored 37 points against the Lakers, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out five assists.
Westbrook generally gets over-shadowed by Durant, a perennial MVP candidate, but Westbrook is on pace for a historic season. At 23.6 ppg, which is sixth in the NBA, 7.8 apg, which is fifth and 5.3 rpg. He is also seventh in the league with 1.85 steals per game.
Durant had 26 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks against the Lakers. Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin, Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson also scored in double digits.
The Thunder have won two straight over the Knicks and four of their last five. Last season, OKC beat the Knicks by 12 in Oklahoma City, but Anthony missed the game with an ankle problem.
The Thunder have lost two of their last three on the road in this series.