Mike Woodson defends his star, Carmelo Anthony

Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony during the

Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony during the first half of a game against the Toronto Raptors. (Feb. 13, 2013) (Credit: AP)

Mike Woodson continues to defend Carmelo Anthony against his critics who say he shoots too much.

Woodson said it takes a special player to deal with the scrutiny that comes with playing in New York and Anthony has dealt with it better than most.

"I've said that for many, many years, dating back to when I played, there were a lot of guys who came here and couldn't cut it," Woodson said before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Tuesday night. "Melo has been solid. I don't care how you cut it. He's been an All-Star, and this team has gotten better because of Melo, and it will continue to get better as we go along."

Anthony led the Knicks to their first playoff series win in 13 years, but he came into Tuesday night shooting 35-for-110 in the previous four games. Woodson has said Anthony has to figure out how to get better shots, but he wants the ball in his star's hands.

He shot 13-for-26 Tuesday night in the Knicks' 105-79 victory.

"He shouldn't get criticized," Woodson said. "Melo's had a hell of a season. He's struggling a little bit. But we're right in the thick of things. We're still in the hunt. That's all you can ask for."

Ray says he's OK

Raymond Felton is happy the Knicks don't play again until Saturday. He twisted his left ankle in the third quarter, left the game and never returned. Felton said he could have come back, but the Knicks built such a huge lead there was no need.

"I'll be fine," Felton said. "I'll be ready by Saturday."

No setbacks for Amar'e

Woodson said Amar'e Stoudemire didn't have "any setbacks" after playing three-on-three Monday for the first time since having right-knee surgery in March. But Woodson said Stoudemire needs to improve his conditioning.

"[He looked] winded and not in great shape, but you expect that," Woodson said. "The fact that he's taken some body blows now a little bit and be able to cut and move and run up and down the court that's a step. [Yesterday] he wasn't real sore behind it."

The plan is for Stoudemire to go three-on-three again Wednesday. Thursday will be a recovery day, and then he'll play five-on-five Friday with the hope he can return in Game 3 Saturday in Indiana.

Reggie gives Spike hug

Reggie Miller spent the 18th anniversary of the day he scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to lead the Pacers over the Knicks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals working Tuesday night's game for TNT. There were chants of "Reg-gie [stinks]!" in the fourth quarter.

Before the game, Miller and old foil Spike Lee staged a seemingly good-natured argument. When it was over, the two hugged and went their separate ways.

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