The last time the Knicks faced an opponent in game action was on December 28 in Toronto. At 9-21 on the season, the four days between contests allowed the squad significant practice time along with the opportunity to acquire back-up big man Jeremy Tyler and for Carmelo Anthony to jump back on the court.
Anthony missed the previous three games due to a sprained ankle, leaving a void on the offensive side of the floor for New York. The Knicks averaged just 92.3 points per game in the three defeats with Anthony sidelined. New York’s leading scorer is ready to help his team in Texas facing a challenging three-game road trip that starts against the defending Western Conference champs tonight.
“Last couple of days have felt better, enough where I’m able to run up and down and move the way that I’m supposed to be moving. As far as being full healthy, I wouldn’t say that but it feels good enough to go out there and be able to get back to the way I’ve been playing,” Anthony answered.
Earlier this week, Anthony participated in his first full contact practice and despite some soreness he did not see enough swelling to cause concern. The plan is for Anthony to play in all three games in Texas without any time restrictions.
Obviously, Anthony’s return is a big boost for a Knicks team looking to snap a three-game slide. Head coach Mike Woodson believes the three days at MSG Training Center was beneficial for his crew.
“Practice will help where we are going 5-on-5 and being able to execute in the offensive setting and defensively work on rotations,” Woodson acknowledged at Thursday morning’s shootaround. “When you don’t’ do that because of all the injuries that we’ve had, you can only walk through so much, you can show a lot of tape and film, which we do but it’s not the same as running up and down 5-on-5, banging and working on execution offensively or defensively. So, that’s where we have to get back to I think.”
After returning to the practice floor, Anthony was able to relay the information he gathered while watching the game from afar during his three-game absence.
“When you just take a step back and try to figure things out when you’re not part of it, sitting out due to injuries or whatever, a lot of things come to mind, you see a lot of things, you see things differently, things that you can bring back and talk to the guys about. From what I see it wasn’t anything too drastic to change out there but there are some things that I saw that I already talked to the guys on the team individually, coaching staff, just some things that I observed when I was out and we’ll see what happens with that.”
Tonight, the Knicks square off against the Spurs at 8:30 PM on MSG Networks before flying to Houston to battle the Rockets on Friday night. The road trip will conclude in Dallas on Sunday evening.