Raptors-Knicks Preview

Carmelo Anthony is red hot, but his recent efforts haven’t

always translated into wins for the New York Knicks.

Anthony will try to continue doing his part as the Atlantic

Division-leading Knicks attempt to head into the All-Star break on

a positive note Wednesday night when they host the improving

Toronto Raptors.

Anthony is tied with Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant for the NBA

scoring lead at 29.0 points per game, and he’ll join Tyson Chandler

in representing the Knicks (32-17) at Sunday’s All-Star game in

Houston.

He’s been even better over the last three games, averaging 36.3

points on 49.3 percent shooting. However, New York has lost two of

those games following a five-game winning streak.

The Knicks failed to capitalize on another big effort from

Anthony on Sunday, when he had 42 points while only one other

member of the team reached double figures in a 102-88 home loss to

the Los Angeles Clippers.

Anthony, though, only managed one basket in the fourth quarter

as New York was outscored 31-18.

“There’s four other guys on the basketball court, we’ve just got

to make plays and we’ve been doing that all season long,” Anthony

said. “(Sunday), we didn’t make plays in the fourth quarter and we

didn’t win the game.”

One of Anthony’s teammates looking for improvement is J.R.

Smith, who is second on the team with 16.0 points per game but

finished with six Sunday while missing eight of nine field-goal

attempts.

After not facing the Raptors (20-32) yet this season, New York

will see them four times in their next 19 games. Seemingly every

Knick struggled in the most recent meeting on March 23, when

Anthony had 17 points while Smith managed seven and Chandler two in

a 96-79 road loss.

Offense hasn’t been a problem when hosting the Raptors, as the

Knicks have won three of four while averaging 116.7 points on 51.2

percent shooting – 43.8 from beyond the arc – in the victories.

Toronto is at the bottom of the Atlantic, but the club is on a

three-game winning streak, matching its total from the previous 13

contests.

The biggest change has been the addition of Rudy Gay, who is

averaging 22.3 points in six games since being acquired from

Memphis in a three-team deal on Jan. 30.

“He’s a big time player,” coach Dwane Casey said. “He’s a

closer.”

The forward has proved that by sinking the winning shot in two

of the last three games, including the go-ahead pull-up jumper with

five seconds left in Tuesday’s 109-108 victory over Denver.

However, only four of Gay’s 17 points came after the first quarter,

and he spent long stretches of the second half stuck on the bench

with foul trouble.

“It just feels good to get a win,” Gay said. “Obviously it’s a

not a game I’m proud of, but I’m proud to get this win.”

He’s averaging 23.7 points over his last three visits to Madison

Square Garden.

This trip will be Landry Fields’ first since spending his first

two seasons with the Knicks. The reserve swingman is averaging 5.0

points and 4.8 rebounds with the Raptors, who signed him to a

three-year, $20 million offer sheet that New York didn’t match.