By, Kenneth Teape – Knickswag Contributor
Pre-Game News and Notes
Knicks vs. Nuggets: ESPN, MSG 10:30PM
The Knicks will look to bounce back from their ugly game in Golden State Monday night tonight in Denver. It will be the second of a five game road trip and arguably the hardest game in the stretch, as the Nuggets have the best home record in the NBA at 28-3. This is will also be the first game for Carmelo Anthony back in Denver since he was traded to the Knicks. What kind of reaction will he get from the fans? That is one of the things to watch for in the game tonight.
Carmelo Anthony will play in Denver for the first time since the Knicks acquired him in a trade two years ago and should receive a warm reception from the fans that were lucky enough to watch their team in the playoffs eight seasons in a row with a big help from Anthony. Anthony will be pumped up for his return even if he says it is just another game.
Anthony is not the only Knick who will be making a homecoming of sorts as Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton, and James White all played for the Nuggets at one point in their career. All of them should have a little extra energy and adrenaline going tonight to put on a show for their former team.
The knee injury that Anthony is suffering through has been highly publicized and was certainly bothering him Monday in Golden State, as he had no lift whatsoever and was not moving well. Tonight the extra adrenaline for playing in Denver should help him power through the pain for some time but it will undoubtedly still bother him.
Anthony may need to have the knee drained eventually because of the fluid buildup that is present, but the MRI he took in February did not show any structural damage.
The Knicks have a tendency to lose their cool when things stop going their way and they need to stop doing that. Arguing with referees instead of getting back on defense is not something that will help the team. If they are to beat the Nuggets tonight they are going to have keep level heads and stick to what they do best. It will be hard enough to beat the Nuggets as the opposing team, but if they begin fighting against themselves tonight’s game could get uglier than it did Monday night.
Like the rest of his teammates, J.R. Smith struggled shooting the ball Monday night against the Warriors going three of 11 from the field. Unlike his teammates, he didn’t have to play most of the second half, as referee Joey Crawford ejected him for what he determined was a flagrant-2 foul.
The Knicks will need Smith on the court tonight if they are to pull off the upset and they will need him to play well too. Smith has to carry the Knicks second unit scoring now, with Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined. Some situations he looks up to the task, but other times makes some mind boggling plays.
In the first matchup earlier in the season Smith sparked the Knicks off the bench with 15 points and nine rebounds. If he can repeat that performance it will put the Knicks in good position to stay competitive tonight.