After missing 3 games (including the atrocity on Christmas Day against the Thunder), the New York Knicks will once again have the services of their best player, Carmelo Anthony, when they face off with the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
Melo will play tonight vs. Spurs
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) January 2, 2014
Al Iannozzone of Newsday reports that Anthony will be in the lineup on Thursday, just hours after the team “officially” listed him as probable for the game. Carmelo has been dealing with a sprained ankle for more than a week, but if there is a team that New York needs him against, it’s probably San Antonio, and the timing certainly fits.
Anthony has been the lone bright spot for the Knicks this season, averaging 26.3 points per game (2nd in the NBA behind Kevin Durant) and 8.8 rebounds per game, despite New York’s 9-21 mark in the standings. He has also been quite efficient (for him) this season, posting a 23.84 PER with a very solid 36.7% clip from beyond the arc and over 85% from the free throw line to offset his always “interesting” field goal shooting.
For the Knicks to do anything positive, they probably need Anthony on the floor, and that alone makes this a huge return. With that said, they’ve dug themselves an enormous hole (whether he was on the court or not), and it’ll be a difficult climb back into playoff contention, regardless of who is on the floor.