W2W4: Knicks vs. Nuggets

January, 21, 2012
1/21/12
3:26
PM ET
How bad are things at the Garden right now?

The Knicks have lost three straight at home and five in a row overall and -- judging by the crowd's reaction on Friday night -- the fan base is getting fed up.

Chants of "Fire D'Antoni" mixed in with boisterous boos as the Knicks trailed Milwaukee by double digits late in the fourth quarter. There were even pockets of "Phil Jackson" chants and "Let's go Giants!" Everything but cheers for the Knicks, who look woeful on offense.

And you can bet the reaction will only get stronger if the Knicks continue to lose, particularly on Saturday night against the Nuggets. The Knicks and Nuggets face off for the first time since the teams agreed to a deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York last February.

Here are three things to keep an eye on during the game:

MELO VS. OLD MATES: Earlier this week, Anthony said he and his teammates 'can't shoot it in the ocean.' The shooting woes have only gotten worse since.

Anthony has hit just 25 of his last 75 shots in the last three games since coming back from right ankle and left wrist injuries. It's clear that his left wrist is still affecting his shot. On Friday against Milwaukee, Anthony missed 15 of his 26 attempts. He scored 35 points, doing most of his damage from the free-throw line.

He said afterward that he hasn't considered sitting out a game or two to let the wrist heal.

"I don't want to use that as an excuse for me. But I'm playing, I'm doing what i can do out there," Anthony.

He also implored his teammates to 'man up' but said he doesn't have anything to prove against Denver on Saturday.

"I spent 7 1/2 years in Denver. I did a lot out there in Denver and I have nothing to prove out there to them tomorrow night," Anthony said. "I just want to win the basketball game and I'll be satisfied."

GALLO'S BACK: Ya think Danilo Gallinari wants to play well on Saturday night? He was one of the main pieces in the Knicks' package for Anthony. And the former Knicks first-round draft pick has thrived under George Karl.

Gallinari is the Nuggets' second leading scorer at 16.2 points per game and has been one of the driving forces behind Denver's 11-5 start. Former Knicks Timofey Mozgov and Al Harrington have also played significant roles for the Nuggets, who are 30-16 (playoffs included) since the Anthony trade. The Knicks are 20-27 since the deal.

MISSING THE POINT: As my colleague Jared Zwering pointed out in a story earlier this week, the Knicks are struggling to guard opposing point guards. They'll have their hands full on Saturday against Denver's Ty Lawson. Lawson is leading Denver with 16.4 points per game and 6 assists. The latest lead guard to do damage against the Knicks was Brandon Jennings, who torched them for 36 points on Friday in the Bucks' win.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2