The decision to sit out Carmelo Anthony Saturday night against the Cavaliers at the Garden wasn't a surprise. His replacement in the starting lineup was.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson tapped rookie Chris Copeland to make his first career start. Copeland hit his first three shots and scored eight of his 11 points in the first quarter in the Knicks' 103-102 victory.
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"It was a great feeling," said Copeland, who played 18:35 and shot 4-for-5. "I was wanting to keep it rolling. I've always been a scorer. That's what I do. I'm not comparing myself to Melo or anything like that, but I just want to go out there and play my game."
Woodson could have gone with Kurt Thomas, J.R. Smith or Steve Novak but chose Copeland, who had played a total of 65 minutes this season. The Knicks also were without Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby, both with sore left feet.
Woodson said Anthony (sprained left ankle) is "day-to-day." His status for Monday night's game against Jeremy Lin and the Rockets is uncertain, although he is expected to try hard to give it a go.
Anthony was injured Thursday night when he was fouled by the Lakers' Dwight Howard and fell awkwardly and hard on his left leg. He had 22 points in the first quarter and 30 in 23 minutes before leaving in the third quarter of the Knicks' 116-107 victory.
Anthony missed two games earlier this month after getting stitches to close a laceration on his left middle finger. The Knicks split those games.
Jason Kidd shot 3-for-14, all but one attempt a three-pointer. He had nine points, eight assists and six rebounds . . . The Knicks honored longtime announcer John Andariese before the game. Andariese, who had called games on TV and radio, retired before the season . . . Assistant coach Darrell Walker missed the game after attending his college graduation ceremony at the University of Arkansas. Walker, 51, finished his undergraduate degree online.