- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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"I hope not," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "Melo is very, very important to this team. We need him to play at a high level, especially tonight against these guys. I think he'll be ready to go."
All eyes will be on Anthony, to see how he reacts in his first game against Garnett since confronting the Boston big man after the Knicks' loss on Jan. 7.
Anthony was suspended one game for approaching Garnett several times off the court following the game.
He and Garnett received double technicals after getting tangled up and Anthony was upset over something Garnett said to him.
Anthony, who is appealing through the players' union to recoup the money he lost via the suspension, has said there is no bad blood between him and Garnett. But that won't stop Garnett from trying to trash talk Anthony or any other Knick on Thursday night at TD Garden.
"Garnett is a player who plays with high emotion and has been his whole career. You can’t expect nothing else from Garnett," Stoudemire said. "We have to keep our composure. This is going to be a hostile environment with the fans. It’s going to be one of those games where it’s going to be very very intense."
Mike Woodson downplayed the significance of Anthony and Garnett sharing the floor. He preferred to look at the game from a broader perspective.
"We let a game get away at home and we're trying to come back and get the game back. That's the only way I view it," he said. "The trash talking and everything that happened back at our place, I think that's all behind us. Guys just want to come out and play and that's how we're going to try to approach it."
1dIan O'Connor, ESPN Senior Writer