(AP) — Carmelo Anthony likely won’t let a couple of hits to the head prevent him from missing any time for his new team.
After getting banged up in his last contest, Anthony expects to be ready to help lead the Knicks to consecutive victories for the first time since he arrived in New York and avoid a fifth straight loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony was poked in the eye and then hit in the head on separate plays during the first half of New York’s 92-79 win at Atlanta on Sunday. The All-Star said he had trouble seeing after the incidents, but finished with 14 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. As a precaution, he played little during the fourth quarter of the blowout victory.
“When I got poked in the eye, it messed my vision up,” Anthony said. “My eye was blurry. I had a migraine throughout the whole game. I was just trying to fight through it.”
Anthony, however, does not expect any lingering issues.
“I’ll be ready for Utah (on Monday) night,” he said.
Averaging 24.7 points since being traded to New York on Feb. 22, Anthony can focus on helping the Knicks (32-29) improve to 5-3 since his arrival.
Sixth in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks likely can’t afford to be without their newest star.
“I was going to give him two minutes, maybe three (of rest), and then we started going,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’ve got a game (Monday) night, and he’s played heavy minutes.”
While with Denver, Anthony averaged 28.2 points his last 13 games versus Utah. The Knicks hope his presence will lead to their first win over the Jazz since Nov. 9, 2008.
Though D’Antoni hopes injured reserves Ronny Turiaf and Bill Walker – both plagued by sore left knees – are ready to return Monday, it is uncertain if starting guard Chauncey Billups will miss a fourth straight game with a thigh bruise.
Billups has averaged 23.3 points in four games since coming over with Anthony from Denver.
Amare Stoudemire, who scored 26 points Sunday, had 22 and just three rebounds in New York’s 131-125 loss at Utah on Jan. 12.
Though the Jazz have averaged 110.3 points and shot 52.4 percent during their four-game winning streak against New York, they had All-Star Deron Williams and Paul Millsap in those contests.
Williams is now in New Jersey and it’s uncertain if Millsap will play after he left Saturday’s 109-102 win over Sacramento with a knee injury.
While the Jazz (33-30) could have a hard time winning without Millsap (17.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game), they should have some confidence after recording just their second win 10 games.
Utah is 10th in the West, 1 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot.
“The guys have been busting their butts, and it’s good to finally get a reward at the end, said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, who is 2-7 since taking over after Jerry Sloan abruptly retired Feb. 10.
Utah center Al Jefferson continued his solid play with 27 points against the Kings. He’s averaged 26.1 points the last eight games, but 11.3 in seven games at Madison Square Garden.
Updated March 6, 2011
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