Knicks-Cavaliers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 19, 2012
The New York Knicks are gearing up for the postseason as Carmelo Anthony continues to step up his game. Amare Stoudemire's return may provide another boost. Stoudemire is hoping to end a 13-game absence when New York visits the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. New York has gone 9-4 while Stoudemire has been recovering from a bulging disk in his back, and Anthony has been the main reason for the team's success during that stretch. Anthony, averaging a league-high 32.2 points in April, scored 33 to lead the Knicks (33-29) past New Jersey 104-95 on Wednesday. It followed a 35-point night Tuesday in a win over Boston after he scored 42 in a loss to Miami on Sunday. "He's playing unbelievable right now," said Tyson Chandler, who added 18 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday. "He's playing, if not the best, definitely in the tops right now, as far as individual basketball." Anthony, though, refused to take all the credit, deferring accolades to his teammates. Steve Novak and J.R. Smith each hit three 3-pointers off the bench Wednesday for the Knicks, who are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of eighth-place Philadelphia. "Guys are feeling comfortable with their shot right now," Anthony said. "They get it and make something happen." New York is on the brink of securing a second straight trip to the postseason following a six-year absence. Some have wondered, though, if Stoudemire's impending return will take shots away from the red-hot Anthony. Anthony averaged only 14.0 points while shooting 39.4 percent in his last seven games before Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin went down injuries March 24, though New York went 6-1 in that stretch. If he returns Friday, Stoudemire may have to shake off some rust, much like Kyrie Irving had to do in Cleveland's 103-87 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday. Irving returned after missing nine straight games with a sprained shoulder and scored nine points while shooting 4 of 10 from the field. "It felt good to be back out there," Irving said. "I really felt good finally getting my legs back under me. I'd rather be out there on one leg than sitting on the bench." Coach Byron Scott and the organization mulled shutting down the rookie for the remainder of the season rather than risking further injury to the No. 1 overall pick, but Irving pleaded to play. "Kyrie and I talked the other day a bunch via text and he kept telling me how much it was eating him up sitting on the bench," Scott said. "He's a competitor. He wants to play. He wants to be out there with his teammates." Irving isn't sure how much he'll play with the Cavaliers (20-41) finishing another disappointing season, though he said he'll play as much as he's allowed. "Most likely I won't play in all five (remaining games) knowing coach Scott, but we'll see how it goes," Irving said. "I've been putting my case in and letting him know I'm 100 percent and ready to go." Irving and Stoudemire each missed the most recent meeting March 31, when Smith scored a game-high 20 points off the bench in New York's 91-75 win. Irving and Anthony scored 22 points apiece in the Knicks' 120-103 win Feb. 29. The Cavs beat the Knicks at home 91-81 on Jan. 25 despite Irving being held to seven points.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Yankees close to trading Aroldis Chapman

WATCH: Dontrelle Willis' great reaction to Giancarlo Stanton home run

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker