Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is expected to miss Saturday's game against the Thunder here due to a sprained wrist and sprained ankle, saying he’ll need "a miracle’’ to suit up.
Mike D’Antoni said Bill Walker will start in Anthony's place at small forward when the Knicks likely will have their hands full with the well-rested 10-2 Thunder.
While we all hate to see a guy get hurt, this is excellent news for the Thunder's chances of winning tonight. Carmelo Anthony is averaging 25.5 points this season, and has been known to get in some epic scoring battles against Kevin Durant.
Since the Knicks are a Mike D'Antoni team, this shouldn't affect their ability to score a whole lot. They can still pick 'n Roll Amare Stoudemire and fire up tons of threes. Bill Walker is no Carmelo Anthony, but he can still shoot really well, and might be able to handle Durant on an isolation. Instead of giving the ball to Anthony or another guy, they'll have to rely on a bunch of bit players shooting a few more shots than they usually do.
Losing Anthony certainly makes them lose a scoring punch, but their key players against the Thunder will be Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire. If the Knicks can't offer good help defense against Westbrook and Harden driving the lane, they'll find themselves in a heap of trouble.
The injury also reflects on just how much the lockout still matters. Because of this one game injury, we won't be seeing a Durant-Anthony scoring battle until at least November, barring a NBA Finals miracle. Despite what that will do for our record, it definitely disillusions me as a fan.