Despite the presence of one of the league's top scorers in Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks have struggled offensively for the majority of the young season.
The return of Amare Stoudemire may help.
Stoudemire expects to be in the lineup Wednesday night when New York seeks to beat the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden for the fourth straight time.
Anthony is averaging 27.0 points per game for the Knicks (2-3) after a 35-point performance in Monday's 90-85 home defeat to Toronto. New York has scored 85 points or fewer in all three of its losses, and its 40.2 percent team field-goal percentage ranks near the bottom of the league.
Stoudemire has missed the last two games with a sprained left ankle, but said he's excited to return to the court Wednesday. He'd averaged 17.3 points through the first three games.
"I can't wait,'' Stoudemire said. "It was tough watching (Monday), so I can't wait to get back out there to really give us that push that we need.''
New York may also get a boost from the potentially surprising return of first-round draft pick Iman Shumpert, who coach Mike D'Antoni said will be a game-time decision.
Shumpert injured his knee in a collision during the Knicks' season-opening win over Boston on Christmas Day and originally was expected to miss up to four weeks.
"I know we lost a game we should have won (Monday),'' D'Antoni said. "But again, we've just got to hang in there, get through this period, get guys healthy, and then see what holes we have and see what we have to add to fix them."
Anthony is averaging 29.4 points in his last 11 games against Charlotte, which has lost four straight since a Dec. 26 season-opening win over Milwaukee.
The Bobcats (1-4) fell 115-101 at Cleveland on Tuesday despite 26 points from D.J. Augustin. Following a 96-95 loss to Miami on Dec. 28, Charlotte's last three defeats have come by an average of 24.7 points.
"It's just not gonna work if we don't play hard all the time,'' coach Paul Silas said. "We're not talented enough to not play hard all the time. You can't just give (the game) away and let it happen.''
Traveling to New York won't make things any easier if recent history is any indication. The Bobcats have lost three straight at Madison Square Garden, where they are 3-9 all-time. However, the last five of those defeats at MSG have come by four points or fewer.
The Bobcats nearly overcame a 16-point deficit the last time they visited New York on Nov. 23, 2010, but came up short by a 110-107 score. Augustin scored 24 points in the loss.
Charlotte defeated the Knicks 114-106 at home March 26 despite a 36-point effort from Anthony.