Future opponents might want to take extra precautions when they're about to play the Thunder. OKC (10-2) has had a steady stretch of facing teams with injured players.
That list potentially grew Thursday night when New York All-Star Carmelo Anthony rolled his right ankle at Memphis and is considered doubtful for Saturday's 7 p.m. game against the Thunder inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Anthony, who also has a sprained left wrist, told the New York Post he will need “a miracle” to suit up against OKC.
Coach Mike D'Antoni said Bill Walker would start in Anthony's place. Teammate Jared Jeffries hasn't played since Christmas Day because of a calf injury but is expected to return against the Thunder.
OKC plays at Boston on Monday. The Celtics were healthy heading into Friday night's home game against Chicago, but given the Thunder's string of good fortune, they might want to keep a watchful eye on the welfare of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, et al.
After Boston, the Thunder plays at Washington on Wednesday – Maurice Evans (knee) and Ronny Turiaf (hand) – and at New Jersey on Jan. 21 – Brook Lopez (foot) and Damon James (foot/ankle).
Before Thursday's loss at Memphis, the Knicks (6-5) had won four straight to stabilize themselves after a 2-4 start.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said the slow start was forgivable. “You have an adjustment period and try to figure everything out,” Brooks said. “Coach D'Antoni is a very good coach, and it takes time. It's new guys figuring out ways to work everybody in. … You can't expect them to click on all cylinders in two weeks of training camp and with games back-to-back.
“They're a talented team. They're going to be right there at the end of the season.”
Asked if Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler comprised the best frontcourt in the league, Brooks said: “They're up there. I don't know if they're the best, but they definitely have a very talented front line. They've got the scorers, and they've got the defender in Tyson. Stoudemire can score in different areas. Carmelo is a scoring machine.”
Brooks said he will prepare his team as if the injured Anthony will be ready to go. “I'm assuming that he's playing,” Brooks said.