The last time J.R. Smith took a final shot that would have been Carmelo Anthony’s, the results were far different.
Back on Dec. 5, Smith nailed a baseline buzzer-beater to squelch the pesky Charlotte Bobcats 100-98, while Anthony sat on the bench with five stitches in his left, non-shooting, hand.
New York Knick small forward Carmelo Anthony has never suffered a major injury during his nine-year career.
Flashing-forward to Thursday's matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Smith’s isolation, turnaround-jumper fell short as time expired and overshadowed an all-around stellar performance from the shooting guard in what could have been a huge Knick victory without their superstar.
The miss had fans clamoring for Anthony's return, but when that happens remains to be seen.
Listed on the official injury report as day-to-day, Anthony has now sat out two straight games with fluid building up in what New York has called a sore right knee. The injury is centered in the back of Anthony’s knee, and an MRI taken Saturday showed now damage.
After the 95-94 loss to the Thunder, head coach Mike Woodson reportedly suggested the NBA’s second leading scorer could return Saturday in a home matchup with the Utah Jazz.
Earlier this week, Anthony came out in the first half of the Knicks 102-97 22-point comeback win at Cleveland after his knee buckled, though Woodson reportedly said in a radio interview he kept the superstar in the game despite previous requests to come off the court.
Anthony has never suffered a major injury in his career, except for a broken bone in his hand during the 2008-09 season that forced him to miss three weeks. The MVP candidate has played in 50 out of a possible 59 games this season, and is knocking down a career-high 38 percent of his three-point attempts.
Forward Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knick bench have stepped up in Anthony’s absence. Over the last three games, Stoudemire has averaged 20 points per contest, and the New York bench has outscored opposing benches 179-56.
A prolonged absence from Anthony could jeopardize the 37-22 Knicks chances of maintaining the No. 2 seed in the East. Of the 13 games left in March, New York has a five-game road jaunt out West, with four of those teams currently in the playoffs.
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