INDIANAPOLIS — Carmelo Anthony will find out Thursday if he will play in his eighth straight All-Star Game or if he’s going to get a rare chance at a long mid-February break.
The Knicks’ record and recent performance could lead to the coaches not picking him as a reserve for next month’s game in New Orleans. Anthony’s string of seven straight All-Star starts was snapped last week when he wasn’t voted a starter by the fans, players and media, but his role on the U.S. Olympic team could earn him some equity with the coaches.
“If something happens and the coaches don’t vote me in, I’ll definitely take advantage of a seven-day break,” Anthony said. But as much as the nine-time All-Star would welcome the break, he wants to play. He enjoys being a part of the weekend and all the pomp and circumstance.
“It’s an exciting weekend,” Anthony said. “For me to say it’s not an exciting experience or I don’t have a good time, I would be lying to you. I had great times, All-Star weekends. It’s fun. The fans are there. The players are there. You kind of just get an opportunity to just relax and just have fun for a little bit.”
Anthony, who entered Monday night averaging 22.5 points, good for ninth best in the Eastern Conference, scored 26 points in the Knicks’ 109-103 victory over the Pacers.
Thomas gets mask
Lance Thomas said he has “pretty constant” headaches from the left orbital bone fracture he suffered Jan. 15 in Toronto. He has a protective mask but isn’t used to it yet and is having trouble focusing.
“It’s not a full-head headache,” said Thomas, who added that he passed the concussion protocol twice. “It’s on the same side of the fracture. It’s really hard for me to keep my eyes open. It’s really bothering me.”
Jeff Hornacek estimated it will be a week or so before he returns, but Thomas isn’t sure when he’ll be back. He was elbowed in the face by the Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas.
“I thought my teeth were falling out,” he said. “I was literally holding the mouth guard up because I thought my teeth were going to fall out. There’s a nerve here that basically makes you feel your teeth, and I couldn’t feel a few of my teeth for a few days.”
Willy making his mark
Willy Hernangomez is showing he deserves to be part of the rotation. He had 14 points and 10 rebounds Monday night, the rookie big man’s second double-double in his last three games.
Hernangomez’s minutes have been sporadic, though. He went from a 17-point, 11-rebound game in a win over Boston last Wednesday night to not playing the next night in a loss to Washington. Hornacek said he chose Marshall Plumlee’s “activity” and voice on defense.
“They both were great in Boston,” Hornacek said. “But Marshall was, maybe not stat sheet-effective, but the way he got everybody else talking and active, getting after it, I thought maybe he could set that a little next time.”
Hernangomez played 14 minutes Saturday night against Phoenix while Plumlee was inactive. Plumlee was inactive again Monday night, and Hernangomez was very active.