Carmelo Anthony helps lead East stars over West
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NEW ORLEANS -- Carmelo Anthony hasn't had much to smile about lately, and he brought some of the frustration from the Knicks' season with him here. But it didn't affect him Sunday night.
Anthony scored 30 points and set an All-Star Game record with eight three-pointers, playing a huge role as the Eastern Conference pulled out a 163-155 win over the Western Conference in the highest-scoring All-Star Game in NBA history.
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was named the game's MVP after leading the East back from an 18-point third-quarter deficit and finishing with 31 points and 14 assists. He scored 24 in the second half, 15 in the fourth quarter.
Anthony shot 10-for-18 overall and 8-for-13 on three-pointers. "It was a great feeling," he said. "I've been telling you it was going to be hard for me to try and enjoy the weekend. But I did it. I found a way. The guys that's part of the weekend did a great job of just getting me through it and keeping me positive. Now it's back to the grind."
Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each scored 38 points for the Western Conference. Griffin shot 19-for-23 and had numerous spectacular dunks. LeBron James had 22 points, seven assists and seven rebounds for the East.
Anthony's last three-pointer, on a feed from Irving, gave the East a 159-155 lead with 1:01 left. After Durant missed a three-pointer, Irving fed James for a layup that put the East up six with 43.1 seconds left.
Despite Anthony's 15 points in the first quarter, the East trailed 44-42. Griffin was 9-for-11 (seven dunks) and scored 18 points.
The West led 89-76 at halftime, and the 165 total points set an All-Star record for a half.
The East made a run with Anthony on the bench and got within 126-123 at the end of the third. He re-entered with just over seven minutes remaining, and his three-pointer tied it at 140.
Before the game, he said being in New Orleans was special for him because it brought back his greatest memory in basketball.
Anthony led Syracuse to the 2003 NCAA championship at the Superdome and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. He continues to search for that kind of team success in the NBA, and he'd like it to be with the Knicks. But with the three-year anniversary of his trade from Denver approaching, he is no closer to winning a title than he was with the Nuggets.
The Knicks have reached the playoffs three times with Anthony, winning one series, and head into the last 30 games of this season with a 20-32 record. That made a reporter ask him if he thinks last night's All-Star Game will be his final one as a Knick.
"Why you want to start that?" he said. "I can't sit here and say this is my last All-Star Game as a Knick. I'd be shooting myself in the foot by saying that."
If you believe everything Anthony says, he wants to be with the Knicks when New York hosts All-Star Weekend in 2015. He will have plenty of say in whether he is, but they will, too.
Anthony said he hasn't formally expressed what type of moves he wants the Knicks to make or which players he wants on his team. But he made it clear this weekend that those conversations will take place after the season. He said he wants to hear what the Knicks' plan is and wants to hear them say they're going to build something that will enable them "to compete at the highest level."
On Friday, Anthony said for the first time that he is willing to take less money if it gives the Knicks more flexibility to add players. But he also said he would take less to give another team that flexibility, too.
It's fair to say he wants a situation like the one with the Heat, as James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have teamed to become three-time NBA finalists and back-to-back champs.
The Knicks aren't in position to do anything like that this summer, even if Anthony takes less money, because they still have big contracts on their payroll. They're looking at the summer of 2015, when Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge can become free agents.
The salaries of Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani, which total $50 million, won't come off the Knicks' cap until that summer. So unless they can move them or trade for a star-caliber player by Thursday's deadline or July 1, the Knicks might not be any closer to winning next season.
Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert have been available, but their play hasn't helped their trade value. Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih aren't in the rotation and might not be around much longer. If Stoudemire is moved, the Knicks might have to take a contract back that has additional years. That's risky, as it could impact how much space they have in 2015.
Anthony said he doesn't want to be traded and doesn't want to be involved in whatever the Knicks do this week.
"A lot of people say they want that responsibility of having the organization talk to them and keep them in the loop and things like that," he said. "I don't think as players we should want that type of responsibility. These are the guys that get paid to be the brains and the geniuses of the organization. If they want my advice, I'm more than welcome to talk to them, kind of figure it out for the near future. Other than that, I'll leave it to them guys."
After the season? That's a different story.
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