The New York Knicks' and San Antonio Spurs' seasons have often gone in contrasting directions since the turn of the millennium.
The Knicks, though, have gotten the better of the five-time NBA champions in most of the recent matchups.
A seemingly rejuvenated Carmelo Anthony will try to help them earn another victory over San Antonio on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
New York (2-1) has finished with just three winning records since the end of the 2000-01 season and reached the playoffs four times. San Antonio, meanwhile, has made the postseason in 18 consecutive years and boasts an NBA-record 16 consecutive seasons with at least 50 wins, including a 50-16 finish in a lockout-shortened 2011-12.
Despite those differing fortunes, the Knicks have won four of the past six matchups and three of four at MSG. New York prevailed 104-100 in overtime on its own floor in the most recent meeting March 17 despite Anthony's absence due to left knee surgery. Langston Galloway led the Knicks with what was a then-career high 22 points.
Anthony was back in superstar form in a 117-110 victory at Washington on Saturday, scoring 37 points on 11-of-18 shooting. The forward totaled 36 points in the first two games since his surgery while missing 29 of 43 shots, including 11 of 12 from 3-point range.
"It felt good. It's been a while since February," he said. "I keep saying it, but it's been a while for me to kind of have this experience."
Anthony will face San Antonio for the first time since registering 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting and 12 rebounds in a 105-101 road victory Jan, 2, 2014. He was dealing with soreness in his left knee before a 109-95 loss in San Antonio on Dec. 10.
The Spurs (2-1) will try to limit him this time after a pair of stingy performances in wins against Brooklyn and Boston. They yielded an average of 81.0 points on 37.7 percent shooting after allowing Oklahoma City to shoot 48.8 percent in a 112-106 road loss Wednesday.
San Antonio held Boston to 35.7 percent and a 6-of-29 showing from 3-point range in a 95-87 victory Sunday. The win was also an NBA-record 541st for the Spurs' trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but it was their newest star that led them in scoring.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 14 rebounds after totaling 21 points in his first two games with San Antonio following a shining tenure in Portland. Kawhi Leonard contributed 19 points and is averaging 22.3 in the first three games.
"We're all still trying to figure it out," guard Danny Green said. "It's still going to take some time. We're still trying to figure it out. Even the old guys that have been here are trying to figure it out."
Aldridge had 24 points and 11 rebounds in his most recent game against the Knicks, a 103-99 victory in the Garden on Dec. 7. He has five consecutive double-doubles versus New York.
The Spurs didn't have Ginobili for either of last season's matchups. He was resting for the first and dealing with a sprained right ankle during the visit to New York. Duncan (rest), Parker (hamstring) and Leonard (hand) didn't play in the victory in December.