Carmelo Anthony is expected to be back in the lineup when the New York Knicks began a three-game stretch of games in Texas by visiting the Spurs on Thursday.
Anthony, who averaged 26.3 points per game, has missed three consecutive games with an ankle injury and the results were disastrous with the Knicks losing the three by an average of 18.7 points.
San Antonio has won three straight games and thrashed the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
The Spurs routed the Knicks 120-89 earlier this season in New York and that scoring output was San Antonio's second-highest of the campaign.
ABOUT THE KNICKS (9-21):
Even if Anthony is back on the court, New York will still be a short a few pieces. Point guard Raymond Felton (groin) is doubtful after missing the previous three games and guard Pablo Prigioni (toe) and forward Metta World Peace (knee) have been ruled out.
Guard J.R. Smith has played 37 or more minutes in each of the last seven games but has reached 20 points just once. Smith has only two 20-point outings all season while averaging 12.1 points.
ABOUT THE SPURS (25-7):
Though San Antonio clobbered Brooklyn, the high expectations surrounding the club were clearly on display when irate coach Gregg Popovich blistered veteran Manu Ginobili for coming up empty and not passing the ball on a 2-on-1 break to end the opening quarter.
Fellow veteran Tim Duncan attempted to calm Popovich to no avail and the coach lit into Ginobili. "We had an exchange," Ginobili said afterward. "He was upset at my first three plays. I thought they were not that bad. It just happens. We just both want to win and he got upset and he was right."
1. The Spurs are 31-10 at home against the Knicks despite a loss to New York in last season's matchup in San Antonio.
2. New York shot just 37.8 percent and was outrebounded 51-33 in the Nov. 10 loss to the Spurs.
3. Thirteen of San Antonio's last 20 victories have been by double digits.