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Friday, December 14, 2012
Opening Tip: Can Knicks handle Melo out?

By Ian Begley

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: After what you saw last week with Anthony out, are you confident that the Knicks can handle life without Anthony, if necessary?


Carmelo Anthony walked out of the locker room with a slight limp on Thursday. He was dealing with a sore left ankle, a sore hip and a sore left knee.

It's unclear right now if Anthony will be healthy enough to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

Late Thursday night he said it was "too soon" to tell if he'd be on the floor Saturday.

Anytime your franchise player goes down with an injury it's a cause for concern.

But, as Mike Woodson pointed out, the Knicks played pretty well without Anthony earlier this month.

New York stunned the league by beating Miami, 112-92, without Anthony. Two nights later, they lost to Chicago.

In those two games, Ray Felton's performance was a critical in the final score.

Against Miami, Felton poured in 27 points and hit six threes against Miami to spur the Knicks' stunner. The next night, Felton had 27 again but he missed 21 of his 30 attempts. The Knicks lost to the Bulls.

The difference was in the way each team approached Felton.

The Heat allowed Felton and others to penetrate on pick and rolls, which opened up plenty of opportunities on the perimeter.

The Heat also went under screens, daring Felton to shoot. And he made them pay.

The Bulls, on the other hand, took away the Knicks perimeter looks by staying at home on shooters, which forced Felton to drive to the paint. He finished 3 for 11 on shots near the rim.

So success without Anthony depends on several factors.

Based on what we saw in two games last week, one of the major factors is how teams play Felton and how he reacts to it.

QUESTION: Based on what you saw last week, are you confident that the Knicks can be successful without Melo?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.