Shootaround: Garden party

San Antonio Spurs (26-8) vs. New York Knicks (21-10)
7:30 p.m.

It is Thursday night. Two top NBA teams are playing each other with inter-conference positioning on the line. There are plenty of stars to drive up ratings. And the game is in New York?

Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images/ZimbioSo why is TNT on its New Years' break?

Usually when a game like this happens it gets the full national television treatment. Unfortunately for the casual NBA fans that want to see Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. I am excited thinking about this matchup — even if it means dealing with NBA League Pass Broadband for an evening.

Anthony has been on a tear lately, which might or might not be a good thing for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony has recorded at least 30 points in seven of the last eight games, including 45 points in a loss to Portland on Tuesday. The Knicks are 5-3 in that stretch though and have lost five of their last eight and three of their last four with Anthony in after he missed several games recently.

New York is still a very potent team and Anthony is not so slowly working his way back into the lineup. He has hit the ground running.

Does San Antonio have anyone that can check him? It will obviously take a team effort to slow him down and if anyone is capable of doing it, the reliable Spurs are that team.

The Spurs have been able to put up a ton of points in a hurry this season as Gregg Popovich continues to have this team playing at an incredibly high level.

Other Storylines to Watch

-San Antonio were in Milwaukee last night marking Stephen Jackson's first return to the team that traded him to Golden State a year ago. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News asked him about his time in Milwaukee and Jackson gave him a bit of a smirk about it. Jackson said he loved Milwaukee and the fans, it just was not a great environment for him. Sometimes things just don't work.

-The Knicks got one of their injured starters back from injury this week but are still waiting for Iman Shumpert's return from a torn ACL. Shumpert estimates that he will be back some time in January or February. Or when everyone will be begging for a rest.

Tonight's Other Games

Minnesota Timberwolves (14-14) vs. Denver Nuggets (18-15)
9 p.m.

Andrei Kirilenko made his return to Salt Lake City last night and said he still have fond memories of the city where he spent the majority of his basketball career — and survived three different iterations of Jazz uniforms, no less. Kirilenko is not a Timberwolf though and is doing a good job. He is averaging 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor. It seemed he came back with an improved game.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily