The Atlantic Division-leading New York Knicks haven't managed to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road in over six years, and Carmelo Anthony hasn't been much help, either.
The expected return of Kyrie Irving may keep it that way Monday night when Anthony and the Knicks make their first of two visits this season.
New York (35-21) has won four of the last six meetings with Cleveland (20-39), but all of those victories have come at home. The Knicks have been held to an average of 93.0 points while dropping 10 in a row at Quicken Loans Arena since last winning there Nov. 29, 2006.
Anthony hasn't been much of a factor in three visits with the Knicks, averaging 18.0 points on 38.8 percent shooting there compared to 22.0 while shooting 50.0 percent in playing three of the four home wins. He sat out New York's 103-102 home win on Dec. 15 due to a sprained left ankle and had only 12 points on 5 for 13 shooting in a 98-90 defeat in the most recent game in Cleveland on April 20.
The superstar forward and the Knicks may be in for another tough matchup with Irving expected back from a hyperextended right knee that has sidelined him for three games. The guard has averaged 28.0 points over his last three meetings against them and scored a career-high 41 in that December loss.
Irving made it through a full practice on Sunday and took part in the Cavs' morning shootaround Monday. Barring any setbacks, coach Byron Scott said Irving will start against the Knicks.
Scott's patience with Irving's injury may have been challenged following Friday's 105-89 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers after Cleveland averaged 102.0 points winning the previous two games without him.
Irving leads the Cavs with 23.3 points per game and 5.6 assists, but he's averaged 17.5 over the last four games despite a 35-point effort in a 105-100 win over New Orleans on Feb. 20.
Dion Waiters is looking to continue his strong stretch, averaging 22.8 points while shooting 56.7 percent in four games. The rookie missed the last meeting with the Knicks due a sore ankle.
New York squandered a 16-point lead while matching its season high with 18 turnovers as a three-game winning streak ended with Sunday's 99-93 home defeat to Miami.
"I think we are disappointed because we had an opportunity to win a ballgame here at home against the champs," said guard Jason Kidd, who had 14 points in his second game off the bench after losing his starting job. "So it's something we can look at and get better at with those mistakes, especially later in the game."
Anthony did his part against the Heat, scoring 32 points, and has averaged 31.6 over the past five games.
Tyson Chandler had 10 points and eight rebounds Sunday, but is looking for another strong performance against the Cavs. The All-Star center scored 23 points while pulling down 10 boards against them Dec. 15, but was held to four and eight, respectively, in the last visit to Cleveland.
The Associated Press News Service
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