January, 1, 2013
Jan 1 11:45
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
The Knicks have gone 3-3 without Carmelo Anthony in the lineup.
They’ve gone 21-9 without Amar’e Stoudemire.
There’s a chance both stars return to the court on Tuesday against Portland.
Here’s a look at Stoudemire and Anthony’s potential return -- and the Knicks' attempt to pick things up on the defensive end against the Blazers:
STAR STRUCK: The shorthanded Knicks will get a boost if Anthony (hyper-extended knee) decides he is healthy enough to play. He has missed the last two games after hurting his knee on Christmas Day. He participated in most of practice Monday but said he still felt weakness in his knee/leg. In Anthony’s absence, the Knicks have relied heavily on J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd. If he returns, that should lighten the scoring burden on everyone and create more open opportunities for Anthony’s teammates.
GOOD STAT? Stoudemire reported on Sunday that his knee isn’t yet at 80 percent. But he’s still hoping to make his season debut Tuesday. Mike Woodson said he’d have to check with Stoudemire before Tuesday’s tipoff to determine if he’d play
. If Stoudemire feels soreness in his knee, the Knicks will err on the side of caution with their $100 million man.
DOMINANT D? The Blazers have a few talented pieces on offense (rookie Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge come to mind), but Portland ranks 21st in field goal percentage and 14th in offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions). So perhaps the Blazers give the Knicks an opportunity to turn things around on defense.
After starting the season by playing dominant D, New York has struggled of late. They allowed season-high point totals for games at MSG against Houston (109) and Chicago (110) in their last homestand. They rank 11th in points per game, 20th in opponent field goal percentage and 17th in defensive efficiency, significant slippages from earlier in the season