Opening Tip: Should Melo rest Wednesday?

Should Melo play Wednesday and risk losing the scoring title to Kevin Durant? USA TODAY Sports

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Do you want to see Carmelo play Wednesday against Atlanta or sit and lock up the scoring title?

It’s unclear at this point if Carmelo Anthony will play in the Knicks' season finale. If he does, it may have an impact on the scoring race.

Entering play Monday, Anthony led Kevin Durant by 0.6 points per game for the scoring title.

Anthony did not play on Monday against Charlotte, opting to rest for the postseason. Durant on Monday scored 29 points in Oklahoma City’s win over Sacramento.

He needed to score 71 on Monday to surpass Anthony. Now, Durant needs to put up 70 in the Thunder’s season finale Wednesday against the Bucks to overtake Anthony. And he may not get the chance to do so because the Thunder locked up the top seed in the Western Conference with Monday’s win. So Durant may opt to sit out of the Thunder's last regular-season game.

If so, the scoring title belongs to Anthony.

But that may change if Anthony plays against Atlanta. If Carmelo decides to suit up, it will likely affect his per-game average.


Because Anthony probably won’t play anywhere near his season average of 37 minutes against Atlanta. The Knicks, after all, don’t want to risk injury to their most important player. Thus, Carmelo probably won’t approach his per-game scoring average of 28.7 points against the Hawks.

Let’s say that Anthony plays 15 minutes and scores 10 points against Atlanta. That would lower his per-game scoring average to 28.3 points.

If Carmelo goes scoreless on Wednesday, his per-game average dips to 28.2.

Durant’s average entering the Thunder’s season finale is 28.1.

So if Anthony suits up and scores 10 points on Wednesday, Durant would need 48 to overtake first place in the scoring race. If Anthony plays and goes scoreless on Wednesday, Durant would need 36 points in the finale to surpass him.

So there are plenty of variables left in this scoring race.

Some have suggested that Durant and Anthony should play in the season finale to determine the outcome. But I don’t buy that. Both guys deserve the chance to rest before the postseason. They’ve earned it.

Which one will earn the scoring title?

Today's Burning Question: Do you want to see Carmelo play Wednesday against Atlanta or sit and lock up the scoring title?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.