Dec 23, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic small forward Tobias Harris (12) defends New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half of the game at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony to return to Knicks lineup vs. Spurs

As the New York Knicks prepare for their tough Texas road trip, they will get a bit of good news.

After missing the Knicks past three games with a sprained ankle, superstar Carmelo Anthony will return to the Knicks lineup Thursday night when the Knicks take on the defending Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs. You can see Melo live in action by grabbing Knicks @ Spurs tickets now!

Dec 18, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. New York won 107-101 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony did some light shooting at Monday’s practice and also jogged a bit, noting that he was feeling better.

‘Melo told Scott Cacciola of The New York Times:

“It was worse than I thought,” Anthony said Monday afternoon at the team’s practice facility. ““There’s still some swelling. There’s still some tenderness. But eventually I’ll have to play with a little bit of tenderness and a little bit of pain.”

That’s good news for the Knicks, who went winless in Anthony’s absence. It’s also good news having their best player back against three teams in the Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets, who are all better than the Knicks.

Not only did the Knicks go winless in Anthony’s absence, but both the offense and defense took a hit.

Defensively, as our Tarun Bhan noted:

The Knicks have surrendered an average of 111 points per game without Anthony. In fact, on the season they have a 104.1 defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) with him on the court and a 110.6 defensive rating when he rests.

Offensively things have been just as bad.

The Knicks averaged just 92.3 points per game in the three games without Melo, down slightly from the 94.7 with him. They rank only 25th in the NBA in scoring with Melo, but were miserable without him.

J.R. Smith tried to carry the bulk of the scoring load the past three games and in typical JR fashion, went an abysmal 37.7 percent from the floor in the three games, taking a whopping 53 shots.

It remains to be seen how well the Knicks will compete on this current Texas trip, but one thing is for sure and that is the fact that they have a better shot with Anthony in the lineup than without him.

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