(SportsNetwork.com) - The banged-up New York Knicks can make up some ground in
the weak Atlantic Division when they begin a home-and-home set versus the
Toronto Raptors Friday night from Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks are just three games behind the division-leading Raptors with a
woeful 9-19 mark and head coach Mike Woodson is looking forward to the
possibility of moving up in the Atlantic.
"We're sitting here at three games out, and in our last 12 we're 6-6, so we
are playing a little bit better basketball based on all the injuries that
we've had," Woodson said Thursday. "But tomorrow's game is an important game
because they (Raptors) sit at the top of the division."
Woodson is hoping to have star Carmelo Anthony, the second-leading scorer in
the league with 26.3 points per game, in uniform versus Toronto. Anthony is
nursing an ankle injury and is day-to-day, according to Woodson. Woodson said
Thursday he will see where Anthony is at treatment wise and go from there.
"If he says he's ready to go, then we'll put him in uniform and play him,"
Anthony, who suffered the injury in the third quarter of Monday's win against
the Orlando Magic. missed a 123-94 drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma City
Thunder on Christmas Day. Amare Stoudemire led the Knicks with 22 points, Tim
Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points and J.R. Smith tallied 20 for New York, which
lost every quarter and gave up 67 points to Kevin Durant (29), Russell
Westbrook (14) and Serge Ibaka (24).
Knicks point guard Raymond Felton did not play due to a right groin strain and
is expected miss Friday's game. Forward Metta World Peace (knee) is
questionable versus the Raptors.
New York is 4-11 at MSG this season.
Former Raptors big man Andrea Bargnani will make his return to Air Canada
Centre and was traded to the Knicks in the offseason. Bargnani played seven
seasons with Toronto and was selected first overall by the Raptors in the 2006
The Raptors are in the midst of playing eight of 10 games on the road and will
wrap up a four-game trek Friday. They had won two in a row and four of five
games until a 112-99 loss against the San Antonio Spurs.
Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross scored 23 points apiece, while DeMar DeRozan
added 13 points and seven boards.
"They're a really good team," Lowry said of the Spurs. "Their players are
hall-of-famers, they have a hall-of-fame coach."
Lowry has scored 20-plus points in three straight games.
Toronto has a 7-7 mark as the guest and its next 11 games will be against
Eastern Conference foes. It has won four of five on the road.
The Raptors and Knicks split four games last season and the past 16 meetings
between the teams.
The Sports Network