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Friday, April 12, 2013
It's Melo vs. Durant for scoring title

By Ian Begley

Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant are separated by the thinnest of margins in the race for the NBA scoring title. Almost as thin as Durant himself.

Anthony leads his Thunder counterpart by just 0.39 points per game entering play Friday.

He's made up a wide margin over the past six games. At the beginning of the month, Anthony trailed Durant by 0.42 points per game.

Anthony's been on an otherworldly scoring binge of late, scoring at least 35 points in six straight games. That's a Knicks franchise record.

The All-Star forward's had a 50-point game and two 40-point games this month. He scored with incredible efficiency for most of the streak, until Thursday night. Anthony missed 21 of 34 shots in the Knicks’ win-streak snapping loss to Chicago.

Granted, Anthony still poured in 36 points against the Bulls to help the Knicks get to overtime and pulled down a season-high 19 rebounds. So it's hard to be overly critical of his sub-par shooting numbers.

Melo had to hit the glass on Thursday to make up for a depleted Knicks front line. Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby were out due to injury. None of the bigs are expected to play Friday against Cleveland.

It’s worth wondering how injuries to the Knicks’ big men could impact the scoring race.

If Anthony’s forced to focus more energy on rebounding, does that take away from his scoring and allow Durant to take over first place?

More important than the scoring race, of course, is the race for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

New York is in a tight race with Indiana for the second spot in the East. They lead Indiana by two games with four to play. The Knicks will host Indiana on Sunday afternoon in a game that will have a huge impact on the race.

To win, the Knicks will probably need another big day from Anthony. Let the race continue ...

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