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Carmelo confident Knicks will get better

Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat

Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat defends Carmelo Anthony#7 of the New York Knicks in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. (May 9, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

MIAMI -- Carmelo Anthony has made the playoffs all nine seasons of his NBA career and has advanced out of the first round just once.

But after scoring 35 points in Game 5, Anthony said he doesn't believe there will be many more first-round exits and that the Knicks can eventually get past LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat.

"I feel confident in my team and where we're headed," Anthony said. "In the future I feel good about competing with the top teams in the Eastern Conference. I do consider our team being up there, top three, top four teams in the East. We just got to get better."

That means Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire coexisting successfully. Anthony averaged 27.8 points in the series and received high praise from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

"Anthony is exactly what we expected -- a top three cover in this league," Spoelstra said. "Now that we can remove ourselves from this series, I don't know how you stop that guy."

Lin wants to return

Jeremy Lin, who becomes a restricted free agent July 1, reiterated his desire to return. The Knicks can use their midlevel exception to keep him. "I love playing in New York, love the fans," Lin said. "I owe a lot to this organization."

Lin played his best in Mike D'Antoni pick-and-roll system. Mike Woodson, who is expected to return, runs more isolations and post-ups. But Lin said he could fit in Woodson's offense.

"It's a nice mix in terms of putting people in the spots that they need to be in and then also spacing the floor and having the creativity, so, definitely," Lin said.

Bibby gets 10 points

Mike Bibby, starting for Baron Davis, who blew out his knee in Game 4, was 4-for-7 with 10 points, six assists and six rebounds. Bibby struggled for the Heat in last year's playoffs. Before Game 5, Wade joked that Bibby "has made more shots in this series than he made all last year."

Novak smothered by Heat

Sharpshooter Steve Novak took only nine shots in the series and scored just 12 points as the Heat defense smothered him whenever he was open . . . Seldom-used Toney Douglas, who hadn't appeared in the first four games, backed up Bibby because of the injuries at point guard. He had two points and one assist in eight minutes.

New York Sports