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Sunday, April 7, 2013
Melo, Durant battle for scoring title

By Ian Begley



Make no mistake: Carmelo Anthony has his eyes on an NBA title.

But for now, he's in a heated race for the NBA scoring title.

Thanks to an otherworldly scoring spree this week, Anthony trails Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant by just 0.05 points per game in the race for the NBA scoring crown.

Durant's Thunder will host Anthony's Knicks on Sunday afternoon (1 ET, ABC).

Just call it a showdown at the OKC Corral, NBA scoring-champ style.

Problem is, neither player seems to care much about the scoring title.

Durant told reporters this week that Anthony could "have" the crown.

"I'm sure he's going to take over," Durant said. "If it happens, cool."

The way Anthony's going, it might happen on Sunday afternoon.

The All-Star forward has averaged 37.4 points over the past five games to slice his deficit from 0.42 to 0.05 points per game.

Anthony also has three straight games of at least 40 points. His latest scoring barrage was on Friday night against Milwaukee, when he poured in 41 points to lift New York to its 11th straight win. Carmelo's 131 points over the past three games is the highest three-game total in the NBA this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The total is 10 more than Durant had from Jan. 18 to 21.

"He's special, that's all I can say," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said of Anthony on Friday.

But can he take the scoring title from Durant, the three-time defending champ?

The margin between Anthony and Durant is, historically speaking, incredibly slim.

In 1978, George Gervin finished 0.07 points per game ahead of David Thompson for the scoring title. Last season, Durant finished 0.17 points per game ahead of Kobe Bryant.

A few weeks ago, it would have been hard for even the most ardent Anthony supporter to think he'd be this close to Durant.

Anthony was mired in a shooting slump in early March and struggling with his shot. He had fluid drained from his right knee March 15 and has been a different player since, averaging 32.3 points on 49.1 percent shooting since the procedure.

"I give that [procedure] a lot of credit," Anthony said.

Knicks fans are no doubt grateful.

The procedure helped catapult Anthony back into the scoring race, and more importantly, it helped stabilize the Knicks' season.

New York has won 11 straight, holds a 1½-game lead for second place in the Eastern Conference and has all but locked up its first Atlantic Division title since 1994.

If Anthony wins the scoring title, he'll be the first Knick to do so since Bernard King in 1984-85.

"You want to be mentioned in the same breath as him," Anthony said.

He's almost there. All he has to do is score a few more points.