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Melo doesn't want to be called a coach-killer

Knicks' Carmelo Anthony looks on against the Portland

Knicks' Carmelo Anthony looks on against the Portland Trail Blazers. (March 14, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The day after receiving most of the blame for Mike D'Antoni's resignation as Knicks coach, Carmelo Anthony tried to defend himself and his reputation.

Anthony said he did what D'Antoni asked of him and doesn't want to be known as a coach-killer.

"That bothers me because I never want that label on me," Anthony said Thursdayafter Mike Woodson's first practice as Knicks interim coach. "I did everything in my power to try and communicate with coach Mike, talk with coach Mike, have a great relationship with coach Mike. Even right now, I feel we have a great relationship."

Amar'e Stoudemire said D'Antoni left because he became "frustrated" that "everyone wasn't buying into his system," but Anthony denied that there was division in the locker room.

Anthony also became very defensive when a reporter said he proved not everyone can thrive in D'Antoni's offense. The Knicks went 26-37, playoffs included, with Anthony in the lineup under D'Antoni. His defensive stance continued when he was asked to react to his ex-coach reportedly feeling he couldn't get the best out of him.

"I think it's false," he said. "Me and Mike talked constantly about trying to find out different ways in what I can do and what we can do as a team. It wasn't working. We lost games, and when you lose games, people say it's not working, and of course the blame is on me. As far as the system working for me or not working for me, it worked in the Olympics when we won the gold medal. I'll take that.

"If I'm the one that messed coach Mike's system up, if you all want to blame me, I'll take it, along with everything else."

Anthony hadn't spoken to D'Antoni but said he planned to reach out to him Thursday.

The Knicks won six of seven games when Anthony was out with a groin injury and Jeremy Lin was in charge of the offense. After Anthony returned, they went 2-8 under D'Antoni, and it was clear that tension was building in the locker room and on the court.

D'Antoni had said the Knicks were getting "sidetracked with issues I don't think are that important . . . The issues are I can't play with you and you can't play with him."

But Anthony continued to say he sacrificed his offensive game for D'Antoni's system and that's why his numbers are down this season. He's averaging 21.1 points -- his lowest output since the 2004-05 season -- and shooting a career-low 40.2 percent.

"He came to me and said there were some things that I was going to have to sacrifice, and he wanted me to sacrifice," Anthony said. "When I came back off of injuries, the team was going in a different direction -- running that system, running that offense. We had won games. And for me to come back and try to fit in and try to figure it out and not try to do too much, it was for me to figure that part out."

He said he had no issues about sacrificing his game. "I'm not a do-what-I-do type of guy," he said. "Me and Coach never had that problem where I came out and said I'm going to do what I do and he's going to do what he's doing. I always went to him and asked him what can I do to help the situation and vice versa."

Notes & quotes: As expected, the Knicks didn't make any moves before the trade deadline. Garden executive chairman James Dolan addressed the team before Wednesday's game and said there wouldn't be any changes. "Mr. Dolan was perfectly clear in his message that no one is going anywhere," Stoudemire said. "We need to give this team a chance to succeed and that's what we're going to do." . . . Former Knick Darrell Walker is expected to join Woodson's staff as an assistant coach.

The Dolan family owns

controlling interests in the Knicks, MSG and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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