Kobe Bryant likes Carmelo Anthony's MVP chances

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni talks with Kobe Bryant Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni talks with Kobe Bryant during a timeout in a game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 13, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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Perennial MVP candidate Kobe Bryant believes Carmelo Anthony is a leading candidate to win the award this season.

"I don't think there's a question about it," Bryant, the 2007-08 MVP, said Thursday. "I've seen him when he was in Denver. He's played this way before. It just depends on how well your team is playing, really, the type of recognition you get. What he's doing to me is not a surprise."

Nash passed

Steve Nash was the Knicks' No. 1 free-agent priority in July, and at one point it appeared they were close to getting the point guard.

"We were in the hunt, but he made the decision to go to L.A. so we had to go a different route," Mike Woodson said.

Plan B -- better known as Jason Kidd -- has worked out nicely for the Knicks.

Nash, who is out with a leg injury, didn't talk to the media before the game.

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D'Antoni fan

Steve Novak doesn't know what his NBA role would be if Mike D'Antoni hadn't given him a chance last season. "He had confidence in me," Novak said. "He valued what I do. Without that, I'm not sure what would have happened.''

All-Star stuff

Anthony is second behind LeBron James in Eastern Conference All-Star frontcourt balloting. Kevin Garnett is third. Tyson Chandler is fifth. The top three start.

Former Knick Jeremy Lin is third among West guards after Bryant and Chris Paul. The top two start.

Buzzer-beaters

Woodson's advice for Amar'e Stoudemire, who was married Wednesday: "Just listen, keep your mouth shut and keep it moving." . . . Former Yankee Bernie Williams performed the national anthem on his guitar . . . During tomorrow night's game against Cleveland, longtime TV and radio analyst John Andariese, who retired before the season, will be honored with the Dick McGuire Legacy Award.

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