Carmelo Anthony may have a little motivation to be back on the court.
The New York Knicks could surely use him after their latest performance.
Coming off their worst offensive performance of the season, the Knicks hope to have Anthony available Sunday night when they face the Denver Nuggets, the superstar forward's former team.
Anthony has missed two games with a lacerated middle finger on his left hand, an injury that has caused him difficulty catching passes. It has left New York (14-5) without the league's third-leading scorer at 26.4 points per game.
The Knicks did just fine without him Thursday, winning 112-92 at Miami. However, they clearly missed the five-time All-Star two days later when they fell 93-85 at Chicago, ending their five-game winning streak with season lows in points and shooting percentage (32.1) while turning the ball over 15 times.
"We definitely missed him (Saturday) because having him, he slows down the pace," center Tyson Chandler said. "You can throw it down to him on the block. Having him, you know you'll get to the free throw line."
Now, they may have Anthony back against the Nuggets (10-10), the team he spent his first seven-plus seasons with before being sent to New York in a blockbuster trade in February 2011.
While Anthony's return to Denver is slated for March 13, he's faced the Nuggets at Madison Square Garden already. That game, though, was upstaged by a player the Nuggets got in return as the Knicks lost 119-114 in double-overtime Jan. 21.
Anthony scored 25 points with 10 rebounds, but Danilo Gallinari had 37 and 11, respectively, as he made his return to MSG.
If Anthony is unable to play, Raymond Felton would likely move to the forefront again. The guard had a season-high 27 points against the Heat, then matched it versus the Bulls while launching a career-high 30 shots.
"Probably haven't taken 30 since high school," said Felton, who is averaging 23.5 points over the past four games.
Chandler continues to be a force inside, averaging 15.0 points and 14.3 rebounds after posting 14 and 18 Saturday.
The Nuggets have split the first two of their season-high five-game road trip after winning 92-89 at Indiana on Friday.
Gallinari leads them with 15.2 points per game while adding 6.1 rebounds. However, he's struggled from the field over the last two games, making 5 of 20 shots - 1 of 5 from behind the arc - to total 25 points.
He had only six against the Pacers.
Corey Brewer has been providing a spark off the bench, averaging 19.3 points on 56.5 percent shooting from the field in three games after matching his season high with 20 points Friday. The swingman had 22 at New York in a loss with Minnesota on Jan 26, 2010, but has scored 13 in two subsequent visits.
Andre Miller is looking to build on his own impressive performance as a reserve, totaling 15 points, eight assists and two steals at Indiana. The 36-year-old guard put up eight of those points during a decisive 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter that put Denver up for good.
"He knows how to get shots down the stretch better than some of our other guys, some of our younger guys," coach George Karl said.
Miller is averaging 17.8 points and 7.6 assists in his last five games at the Garden, including 14 and 12, respectively, on Jan. 21.
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