Melo motivator: Helping Jeremy Lin get back on track
Carmelo Anthony talked to Jeremy Lin several times during Wednesday's loss to the Spurs. He even motioned for Lin to throw a bounce pass after his chest pass to Anthony was knocked away.
In those huddles, Anthony said he was trying to be a veteran leader to the young point guard, who has come upon some tough times. Lin isn't producing the way he did when he and the Knicks were rolling for most of February. At times he hasn't looked like the same player, and he still seems to be trying to get used to playing with Anthony.
"I wasn't really talking to him about getting me the ball out there," Anthony said Wednesday night. "It was more just keeping his confidence at a high level. It's a learning process for him, for us as a whole. We're in it together. With him, it's just a matter of running the team, running the offense, just doing what he has to do, doing what he's been doing. We rely on him for that."
Anthony said he's not worried about Lin's confidence but "my message to him is don't try to put it all on your shoulders."
During the Knicks' three-game skid, Lin has shot 38.6 percent (17-for-44) and averaged 16.0 points, 5.3 assists and 3.0 turnovers. The upgrade in the level of competition has been a factor. The Knicks lost at Boston, Dallas and San Antonio, and Lin was outplayed by Rajon Rondo, Jason Kidd and Tony Parker.
Those veterans made sure the new point guard sensation didn't beat them. The teams did, too. They've played Lin physically and succeeded in taking away his driving lanes, showing him different looks than he saw earlier.
"I would say double-teams," Lin said. "I would say they close the gaps more now because of scouting reports and what not. It's been different seeing less space, seeing more defenders. It's a process. But we'll be all right."
It was going to be tough for Lin to maintain his averages of 23.8 points and 9.2 assists when he led the Knicks to eight wins in nine games. Anthony's return from a groin injury has contributed to Lin's drop-off. But essentially, it began when Miami held Lin to 1-for-11 shooting Feb. 23 and he had eight points and eight turnovers.
"I think he is better late in games than earlier," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We'll talk about it. We're going to try to get it for 48. He's the point guard. He's going to be affected by the mood and the swings of the team. That's a growing experience, and he'll get there."