(SportsNetwork.com) - The banged-up New York Knicks can make up some ground in the weak Atlantic Division when they begin a home-and-home set versus the Toronto Raptors Friday night from Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks are just three games behind the division-leading Raptors with a woeful 9-19 mark and head coach Mike Woodson is looking forward to the possibility of moving up in the Atlantic.
"We're sitting here at three games out, and in our last 12 we're 6-6, so we are playing a little bit better basketball based on all the injuries that we've had," Woodson said Thursday. "But tomorrow's game is an important game because they (Raptors) sit at the top of the division."
Woodson is hoping to have star Carmelo Anthony, the second-leading scorer in the league with 26.3 points per game, in uniform versus Toronto. Anthony is nursing an ankle injury and is day-to-day, according to Woodson. Woodson said Thursday he will see where Anthony is at treatment wise and go from there.
"If he says he's ready to go, then we'll put him in uniform and play him," Woodson noted.
Anthony, who suffered the injury in the third quarter of Monday's win against the Orlando Magic. missed a 123-94 drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Christmas Day. Amare Stoudemire led the Knicks with 22 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points and J.R. Smith tallied 20 for New York, which lost every quarter and gave up 67 points to Kevin Durant (29), Russell Westbrook (14) and Serge Ibaka (24).
Knicks point guard Raymond Felton did not play due to a right groin strain and is expected miss Friday's game. Forward Metta World Peace (knee) is questionable versus the Raptors.
New York is 4-11 at MSG this season.
Former Raptors big man Andrea Bargnani will make his return to Air Canada Centre and was traded to the Knicks in the offseason. Bargnani played seven seasons with Toronto and was selected first overall by the Raptors in the 2006 NBA Draft.
The Raptors are in the midst of playing eight of 10 games on the road and will wrap up a four-game trek Friday. They had won two in a row and four of five games until a 112-99 loss against the San Antonio Spurs.
Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross scored 23 points apiece, while DeMar DeRozan added 13 points and seven boards.
"They're a really good team," Lowry said of the Spurs. "Their players are hall-of-famers, they have a hall-of-fame coach."
Lowry has scored 20-plus points in three straight games.
Toronto has a 7-7 mark as the guest and its next 11 games will be against Eastern Conference foes. It has won four of five on the road.
The Raptors and Knicks split four games last season and the past 16 meetings between the teams.