NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony made his presence felt in his return to the Knicks after a two-game absence as he helped the team to a 61-58 lead at halftime. Anthony led all Knicks with 17 points in the first half. The Knicks surged to their lead with 38 points in the second quarter.
MELO LOOKS RUSTY: Anthony shook off a little rust early on and finished with a productive first half that saw him get to the free-throw line.
In the first quarter, he drove to the basket often but couldn't finish, shooting just 1-for-6 from the field. He also was shaky at the free-throw line as he shot just 4-of-8. Anthony played the entire quarter but just could not get himself into a groove.
In the second, Anthony didn't have nearly the opportunities he had in the first half, taking just three shots but making two of them. He was fouled on a 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left in the half and hit them all, as well as a technical free throw, to give the Knicks a five-point edge at the time. Anthony made 10 free throws in the first half.
GOING SMALL: Without Marcus Camby or Rasheed Wallace, the Knicks didn't have much size on the court. Tyson Chandler played the entire first quarter, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds. Kurt Thomas, the only other healthy big man, didn't start playing until the start of the second quarter.
While the Nuggets had the size advantage, they couldn't really flex their muscles. The Knicks' small-ball attack gave the Nuggets fits at times. J.R. Smith, who came off the bench, gave the team some life with 12 points. Chandler added 10 points and four boards. The teams were even in rebounding at the half.
KIDD GOES DOWN: About midway through the second quarter, Jason Kidd was able to get Ty Lawson to bite on a pump-fake, but the Nuggets' guard came down hard on Kidd and hit him squarely in the head. Kidd, who had to get stitches in his head after a similar type play against Indiana, was on the bench shortly after and was holding an ice pack on his head. Kidd eventually returned a few minutes later.