Short-handed Knicks visit Kings

Updated: December 28, 2012

The New York Knicks don’t know if they’ll have star forward Carmelo Anthony available for Friday night’s finale of a three-game road trip due to injury.

Sacramento Kings head coach Keith Smart knows if he will play troubled center DeMarcus Cousins, but isn’t saying just yet.

Just a little intrigue ahead of the Knicks’ Friday night clash with the struggling Kings.

Anthony suffered a hyperextended left knee in a Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and was unable to play the following night in Phoenix. Guard Raymond Felton also sat out after suffering a fractured right pinky versus the Lakers and later learned he will be out 4-to-6 weeks.

Minus two starters, New York was able to squeeze out a 99-97 win over the Suns thanks to two huge shots by J.R. Smith over the game’s final 10.6 seconds.

Smith first tied the game with a fadeaway from the top of the key and teammate Tyson Chandler then forced a turnover with one second to play.

A timeout put the ball along the sideline past midcourt and Jason Kidd — who shifted to the point position for the game in place of Felton – fed Smith as he was falling away from the basket. Despite P.J. Tucker being draped all over him, Smith rose and sent the ball through the hoop just as the clock struck zero.

“He was incredible, but it was a total team effort tonight,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said about Smith. “It came down to one shot with one second on the clock, a big shot.”

Smith finished with 27 points, while Kidd added a season-high 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds for New York. Chandler totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.

Anthony is tied for second in the NBA with 28.5 points per game and is listed as questionable for tonight.

Cousins, meanwhile, has missed the past two games after clashing with Smart in the locker room at halftime in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. Cousins was benched for the second half of that game and was then suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.

The ban was lifted after one game and Cousins, who leads the Kings with 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, practiced on Monday, but did not play in Wednesday’s 109-91 setback to the Portland Trail Blazers.

After taking the opener of the home-and-home set on Sunday, the Kings fell to 1-4 this season without Cousins in the lineup. John Salmons paced the Kings with 19 points and Isaiah Thomas added 12.

However, the Kings fell to 1-12 on the road with their seventh loss in nine games overall.

“They just got it going and it’s hard to stop a team that gets it going at home,” said Thomas.

Sacramento will try to stay above .500 at home tonight. It is currently 8-7 as the host on the season.

As for Cousins, Smart told the Kings’ official website on Thursday that, “a decision’s made. I won’t share it right now.”

While Cousins’ status is up in the air, guard Tyreke Evans is expected to miss a sixth game in a row due to a sore left knee that has held him out of 10 games total on the season. He hopes to play on Sunday and the Kings are 4-6 without him in the lineup.

The Knicks won both of their matchups with the Kings a season ago and have won two straight in Sacramento.