It's safe to say the New York Knicks will focus Monday night's game plan on defending Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.
They hope to be boosted offensively by the return of Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony's status is in doubt for the visiting Knicks as these teams meet for the first time since Curry's amazing performance last month.
New York (38-22) won 109-105 at home over Golden State (35-29) on Feb. 27, overcoming Curry's NBA season-high 54 points. The Knicks admitted everything they tried didn't work on Curry, who made 18 of 28 shots and finished one shy of the league record with 11 3-pointers on 13 attempts.
"We ran everything at him," center Tyson Chandler said after that game. "He just got hot. There was some shots that he couldn't have seen the rim."
Anthony scored 35 in that contest, but he's missed the last three games with knee problems. It's unclear when the Eastern Conference's top scorer will return as the Knicks begin a five-game West trip.
New York will continue to play without Amare Stoudemire, who needs surgery on his right knee and is expected to miss six weeks. Stoudemire returned on New Year's Day after missing the first 30 games due to another knee surgery, and has averaged 14.2 points in 29 contests as a reserve.
The Knicks played without Anthony and Stoudemire in Saturday's 113-84 home win over Utah.
"It helps because we did play without Amare but we would love to have Amare back. We know that," guard Jason Kidd said. "The big thing for us is we get Melo back coming up and then we go on the West Coast trip and try to come back with a positive record."
The Warriors are hopeful that David Lee will return Monday. Lee, who leads the NBA with 41 double-doubles, sat out Saturday's 103-93 home loss to Milwaukee with a bruised right knee.
Lee, who played his first five seasons with the Knicks, missed the last meeting with his former club due to a suspension.
Curry wasn't the only player who turned in a personal-best effort that night. Chandler had 16 points and a career-high 28 rebounds for the Knicks.
The big man has helped New York limit opponents to 85.3 points per game while going 2-1 in this stretch without Anthony, holding the Jazz to 38.5 percent shooting. J.R. Smith is averaging 26.7 points in that span.
"Defensively, we're just scraping and scratching," coach Mike Woodson said. "Our assignments (Saturday) were pretty much right on the money and that's something where we've had slippage in the past."
The Warriors, meanwhile, have dropped 12 of 17 - losing back-to-back home games for the first time all season over the weekend - as they bid to reach the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
"I believe in my guys," coach Mark Jackson said. "We'll be fine, but we have to respond."
Curry is shooting only 39.8 percent since his historic performance. He's averaging 17.7 points on 36.0 percent shooting in his last three games.
"We're just not showing up right now," he said. "Individually everyone has to step up and just play better."
The Associated Press News Service
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