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Anthony Exits Game with Knee Problem, Celtics Look for Win Against 76ers

First it was the Miami Heat’s LeBron James tweaking his knee and on Monday, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony suffered from his own knee problem. He tripped over himself in the second quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers game and aggravated his bum right knee. The player left the court and didn’t return for the second half of the game.

The Knicks (36-21) still defeated the Cavaliers (20-40), 102-97. Anthony said after the game his knee will be re-evaluated and he likely won’t play in Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. There’s also the possibility of more absences.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

The knee problem isn’t anything new. A few days ago he had an MRI on it; the results were negative. Anthony said after Monday’s game via ESPN, “It’s just sore, not pain, sore and stiffness. It’s been going on for a while now.”

Prior to Monday’s game, Anthony had been tied with Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant as the league’s leading scorer. Before Monday’s early exit, he had six points and three turnovers.

The Knicks sit at the top of the Atlantic division and third in the Eastern Conference. They have 14 to 1 odds to win the 2013 NBA Championship.

For the division’s second-place team, the Brooklyn Nets (34-26), they are off until Wednesday when they play the Charlotte Bobcats (13-47). They’ll enter the game on a two-game loss streak.

And the Boston Celtics (31-27) round out the Atlantic division’s top 3 spot. On Tuesday, they’ll play the Philadelphia 76ers (23-35).

Boston vs. Philadelphia

After the All-Star break, the Celtics hit the road for nine games and it’s been challenging. The team has won their last two, most recently against the Golden State Warriors (34-27) 94-86 on Friday. Paul Pierce led the team in scoring with 26 points while Jeff Green came off the bench and contributed 18 points.

This represented their third win over four games and they now sit in the Eastern Conference’s seventh spot.

Celtics forward Paul Pierce

Pierce said of the team’s road tour via ESPN, “Every game is important from here on out because it could mean the difference between the eighth seed and the fourth seed.”

In the team’s’ last meeting in Philadelphia on Dec. 7, the 76ers defeated the Celtics 95-94 in overtime. They play well on the home court against them, winning their last six of seven against them when including 2012 postseason games.

From their December game, the 76ers Evan Turner led with 26 points and Thaddeus Young  contributed 17 points with 12 rebounds.

For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett had 19 points (9 for 11 shooting) but had no rebounds. Green added 16 and on the following evening in Boston, the home team won 92-79. In this season’s two games against the 76ers, Garnett has 36 combined points with 20 rebounds.

Since their last meeting, things have changed for both teams.

The 76ers started the season 11-8 and now they’ve lost their last eight of nine games.

They expected Andrew Bynum to be playing by now but who knows if he’ll even be with the team next season.

Then there’s Turner’s play: it has been off as he is averaging 12.5 points per game (on 37.6 percent shooting) in his last 14 games.

Jrue Holiday has also been struggling. In the two previous Celtics games, he scored 49 points (21 for  39 from the field) but in Sunday’s game against the Washington Wizards, he only had 14 points (4 for 19 shooting).

Interesting with all of their challenges, over their previous dozen games, the 76ers are averaging 86.9 points (41.8 percent shooting). But good luck on Tuesday: the Celtics have kept opponents to 90.8 points for their last four games when in regulation time.

For the Celtics, Rajon Rondo is out.

In this year’s series, Pierce has averaged 21.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting from the field.

Even though the 76ers like playing on their home court against the Celtics, the visitors are the better team and will take the win on Tuesday (-2.5, 184.5 o/u).



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