Carmelo Anthony has called out must-wins and almost must-wins. So when will it be time to say enough's enough when it comes to these losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers?
"Tomorrow night, tomorrow night," he said. "I think we know we've been struggling against Cleveland this season. Some games I was here, some games I wasn't...."
Actually, you've been here for two of the three...
"...That's neither here nor there. Tomorrow is one of them games that we have to get, especially after the wins we had, back-to-back, we don't want to take no steps back."
The game holds the significance of a potential playoff clincher if the Knicks win and the Bobcats lose to the Wizards...at home. [Yes, Fixers, you're relying on a Washington team that is 2-35 on the road.]
"If . . . they said we clinch," Carmelo said, "that makes it even better."
But as for simply overcoming the Cavaliers?
"We'll be up for tomorrow," he said. "We'll definitely be up for this game. I can tell you that for a fact."
* * *
* - After what was essentially two days off, Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire went through the entire two hour practice today. Stoudemire, who has looked exhausted through the busy March schedule, said he feels "great" and added, "We got to see tomorrow night."
* - Chauncey Billups, however, didn't get through much of the second half of practice because he was dealing with an issue with new sneakers he was trying out. Billups was experiencing discomfort in his feet from the sneakers and after a few adjustments, he gave up. He's expected to be ready to play tomorrow and probably using his previous pair of kicks.
* - Andy Rautins underwent a debridement procedure to clean out some tissue in his knee, which means his season -- albeit one he mostly spent practicing and not playing in games -- is over. Rautins' contract has a second year ($788,872) that is not guaranteed. The Knicks have a first round pick and if they select a guard, it would obviously impact Rautins' future with the team. Rautins, who certainly could have benefitted from a D-League assignment, appeared in just five games this season and dressed for 37 games.
* - Ronny Turiaf, who missed the last three games with an ankle strain, practiced today and is expected to be available to play tomorrow against the Cavaliers.
* - Carmelo will make a cameo appearance on Saturday Night Live tonight. He was at the studio on Thursday for a shoot and is also scheduled to be on the set live tonight for the scene. But he wouldn't divulge what his involvement would be in the show.
"C'mon man," he said with a grin as he walked into the locker room. "Help the ratings out man and watch it!"