Wednesday, March 20, 2013
W2W4: Knicks vs. Magic
By Ian Begley
Home sweet home?
The Knicks hope so.
New York returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time in nearly two weeks on Wednesday to face the Orlando Magic.
The Knicks went 1-4 on their season-long five-game road trip out West but will get a boost against Orlando, as Carmelo Anthony is expected to return to the lineup.
Here are a few things to watch during the game:
HOW WILL MELO'S KNEE RESPOND? Carmelo is confident that his knee won't be an issue for the rest of the season. Wednesday's game should give us a good indication if Anthony is right about that.
Keep an eye on his shot, particularly how much lift he gets from his legs, and how explosive he looks around the basket.
Before he decided to sit out and rest his knee, Anthony was struggling with his shot. In the eight games before he sat out against the Pistons on March 6, he shot just 36.6 percent from the field and made just 9 of 44 attempts (20.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Before that, Anthony had been shooting 45 percent from the floor and hitting 41 percent of his 3-pointers.
"Melo wasn't Melo when he was going through his problems with his knee," Mike Woodson said. "Hopefully that's all behind him and he can move forward with it."
"Until they get back healthy and ready to play," Woodson said of his injured bigs, "We've just got to go with guys that are in uniform and get them ready to play."
The problem for Woodson is balancing the need to play Camby more minutes with the need to keep him fresh for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
"We've still got to be careful with him. ... I'm running out of bigs. I don't think I can play Marcus 30 minutes or 25 minutes, so I've got to really walk a fine line there," the coach said.
In 19 games with the Knicks, Camby has averaged 11.1 minutes.
Chandler, by the way, was averaging 15.7 points on 87.0 percent shooting to go with 8.3 rebounds to help the Knicks go 3-0 in the season series against Orlando. The Knicks will be looking to sweep the Magic for the first time since 1997-98.
LOCAL FLAVOR: Orlando has some of New York's finest recent prep talent on its team.