Mike D'Antoni wants Carmelo Anthony to work past frustration

Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks grimaces Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks grimaces after suffering an injury in the first half against the Utah Jazz. (Feb. 6, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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SAN ANTONIO -- Mike D'Antoni said there shouldn't be many more games that Carmelo Anthony will take only 12 shots. But he wants his leading scorer to play better.

Anthony was 2-for-12 with six points in the Knicks' loss in Dallas Tuesday night. He looked frustrated and out of sync, playing without the ball most of the night and with few opportunities where he posted up or had plays run for him.

"I understand the frustration," D'Antoni said before the Knicks faced the Spurs last night. "We just got to work through it. It's a combination of everything. We as a team have to find better spots for people. People that have the spots have to play better. I think everybody's a little frustrated.

"We have to find that sweet spot, where he's going to be our leading scorer, there's no doubt about it. He should take more shots than anybody, there's no doubt about it. We have to find that sweet spot and get everybody unfrustrated and get them on the same page and work through that."

The Knicks are still figuring out how to make everything work with Anthony and Jeremy Lin. They're also trying to fit in Baron Davis and J.R. Smith and play within the pick-and-roll system that D'Antoni likes to run.

In the Dallas game, Amar'e Stoudemire had it going offensively so the Knicks went to him more. Stoudemire had 26 points while Anthony was invisible most of the night.

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Anthony was scoreless in the second half. He left the locker room without talking to reporters, but ultimately returned and expressed some of that frustration. "I think anytime you go from the early part of the season and me just having the ball and being the distributor and now just running the wings and waiting for the ball to come to me, that's quite an adjustment for myself," Anthony said.

The Knicks were 8-15 when they ran the offense through Anthony. Then Lin burst onto the scene and turned around the Knicks' season.

They won seven consecutive games last month. Anthony played in one and six minutes of another. Since he's come back from a groin injury, it's obvious Anthony is not comfortable playing without the ball.

In the six games before last night, Anthony shot 37-for-96 (38.6 percent) and averaged 16.3 points. The Knicks dropped four of those games.

"The team's complexion did change in his absence," D'Antoni said. "And you have to work through that. But there's no reason why it can't coexist."

D'Antoni said he considered not bringing back Anthony after the Knicks made their 15-0 run in the fourth against the Mavericks and took a one-point lead. But D'Antoni said he did because he thought some of the Knicks' reserves were wearing down and he needed to reinsert his starters.

Anthony wasn't the only one to return. Lin and Tyson Chandler also came back and were unable to slow the Mavericks' roll or give the Knicks the boost they needed on the offensive end.

"I think it's up to us collectively," D'Antoni said. "I really was encouraged the way Amar'e responded and the way he came through, so it can happen. It will happen."

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