Hornets-Knicks Preview

The Associated Press

While the incredible emergence of New York's Jeremy Lin has taken the country by storm, many are wondering how this overnight success story will coexist with Carmelo Anthony upon his return.

That question may not be answered just yet.

Lin and Anthony had been hoping to be in the starting lineup together as the host Knicks go for an eighth straight win Friday night against the lowly New Orleans Hornets, but Anthony is considered doubtful due to his strained right groin.

Lin's story has been well documented since he came off the bench to score a game-high 25 points in a 99-92 win over New Jersey on Feb. 4. Unheard of by most of the nation prior to that performance, the former Harvard star has guided the Knicks (15-15) to seven straight victories and into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

While Lin has become a household name and New York is relevant again in the basketball world, there is some concern about how Anthony will fit in with a team that has suddenly developed chemistry in his absence.

Anthony was in the starting lineup for Lin's first start Feb. 6 against Utah, but left because of his injury after playing less than six minutes and hasn't suited up since. There's still a chance he'll face New Orleans, but he may be more likely to return Sunday against Dallas.

Before the rise of Linsanity, New York's offense went through Anthony, and he didn't hesitate to fire up shots. The five-time All-Star is fourth in the NBA in field-goal attempts per game at 18.8 but is shooting 39.9 percent, the sixth-worst mark in the league among qualifying players.

Lin became the team's primary scorer in Anthony's absence, averaging 27.2 points and 19.6 shots in his first five starts, but proved Wednesday he doesn't need to score for New York to be successful.

After totaling 136 points in his first five starts - the most by any player since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976 - Lin finished with 10 points and a career-best 13 assists in an easy 100-85 win over Sacramento. He sat out the fourth quarter after playing just 26 minutes - 10 fewer than in any other game since joining the rotation.

"As a point guard, my field-goal attempts have been really high and I don't think that's necessarily good," Lin said. "I think it's more of my job to distribute and get people in rhythm."

Landry Fields had team highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who put seven players in double figures in scoring for the first time since April 5, 2009, at Toronto. Amare Stoudemire had 11 points in 27 minutes after finishing with 21 and nine rebounds in Tuesday's 90-87 win at Toronto, his first game back after sitting out four following the death of his brother.

Stoudemire combined for 58 points on 61.0 percent shooting in two games - both Knicks wins - against the Hornets last season. Anthony aided the second one with 22 points after arriving from Denver.

New Orleans (6-23) arrives in New York having won back-to-back games after winning just two of its previous 25. The Hornets defeated Milwaukee 92-89 on Wednesday despite dressing only 10 players and being without several key contributors.

Marco Belinelli made a career-high six 3-pointers and had a season-high 22 points for New Orleans, which is again expected to be without Emeka Okafor, Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry and Eric Gordon - all sidelined with knee problems.

"We're a fighting team," coach Monty Williams said. "We have a little bit of grit about us. It's too bad you don't have a stat for heart and intensity because we'd be at the top of the league."

The Hornets have lost six straight games to the Knicks since a 118-110 victory April 4, 2008.

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