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Amar'e still not satisfied with focus

Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks

Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks on the court against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. (Feb. 6, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

MILWAUKEE -- Carmelo Anthony may have apologized to his new teammates for his behavior in Friday's loss in Detroit and the team may have spent their time Saturday in Milwaukee watching film and having meetings about the team's strategy, but Amar'e Stoudemire didn't seem at all satisfied that things are headed in the right direction when it comes to the offense.

"Right now it's about us staying together and really trying to understand the offense and play it and play it, really execute it," he said after the latest debacle, the 100-95 loss to the Bucks on Sunday. "Take it upon us to take the time to really study the offense and try to become better and work on it that way."

Is that a hint that Stoudemire feels some players aren't putting enough time -- or focus -- into film sessions and walk-thrus?

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* - Carmelo Anthony was called for an offensive foul on what was a critical play with 4:06 left in the game and the knicks trailing 85-81. Anthony got bumped by Carlos Delfino as he pulled up for a jumper and nailed it for what seemed to be an easy call: and one. But veteran referee Ken Mauer pointed the other way and instead called Anthony for the foul. 

"I came off the pick, I knew [Andrew] Bogut was gonna be back, playing the pick-back," Anthony recalled. "I knew Delfino was gonna chase over the pick and try to cut me back off. So my thing was to try to cut him off, make him stop. 

"I guess Kenny thought it was an offensive foul," Anthony continued. "My argument was you let [John] Salmons do that the whole game. But when I did it, you call and offensive foul. That's just how the game goes sometimes."

* - While getting more of a look at Shelden Williams at the center position absolutely makes sense, it was an odd decision to start him after he hadn't played in four games and never had the chance to practice with the starting unit before the game. But then to not play him after his initial six-minute stint -- understandibly it wasn't very productive --only added to the confusion. Williams can help with his bulk and experience and between him and Ronny Turiaf, the Knicks can at least hope to have some answers defensively at the five spot. But both appear to be better served as reserves because the best center on the team remains Stoudemire. That would mean the issue isn't at center, it's at power forward, where Wilson Chandler is missed. 

* - Jared Jeffries is started to get exploited again by opposing teams, who don't even bother to guard him when he's away from the basket. When he was his most effective last season, Jeffries was in the corner, cutting back door to the basket and focused on being active on the offensive glass a la Anderson Varejao. Lately he's back to being 20 feet from he basket with the ball in his hands and even in the pick-and-roll, which is exactly what opponents want to see. Let's be quite honest, Jared is not a threat to make shots from there or most places on the court. The offense should not be going through him in any way.

* - Some very casual NCAA scouting: While BYU's lights-out Jimmer Fredette seems like an ideal fit for D'Antoni's system (no way he gets by the Jazz, who will have two lottery picks) and energizer Kenneth Faried (Morehead State, by way of Newark) has intriguing potential, keep an eye on Richmond's Justin Harper. The 6-10 late-bloomer has terrific range and a ridiculous wingspan and is a very aggressive shot-blocker. He should be a better rebounder for his size and length, which might call to mind some Channing Frye comparisons. But he's far more athletic than Frye and, perhaps with some more growing, he might be a great fit for the Knicks as a first round target who would have the potential to provide the perfect power forward complement Amar'e Stoudemire in the frontcourt. Perhaps you could call him Wilson 2.0?

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