Left to right: Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields...

Left to right: Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields celebrate on the bench against the Sacramento Kings (Feb. 15, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony sat on the bench talking and laughing late in the Knicks' blowout of the Kings on Wednesday. They believe good times await them on the court, too.

Lin has been the biggest story in sports for his Lin-credible play during a seven-game winning streak. The second-biggest story in New York has been speculation that when Anthony returns from a groin injury -- perhaps Friday night against the Hornets -- he could disrupt the Knicks' newfound chemistry.

But Lin said Anthony went to Mike D'Antoni seven games ago and suggested he play the undrafted point guard from Harvard. Lin also said he and Anthony have talked about what it will be like when they play together.

"I've been hearing reports, 'Can Jeremy coexist with Melo?' and this and that, and I'm just confused, because he's the one who vouched for me in the first place," Lin said on "The Boomer and Carton Show" on WFAN Thursday morning. "We want to play together and we want to win together and we're buying into that. Some people call Melo selfish and he doesn't buy into the team. That's just tough for anyone to hear, especially when we don't think it's true."

It is true that most of the Knicks' recent success has been without Anthony. Lin has 64 assists during the streak and none has gone to Anthony. But he played in only two of those games, and he left one 5:49 in after straining his groin.

Anthony is antsy to be a part of the energy and buzz Lin has created, but he said Wednesday he won't return until he's 100 percent healthy. He played this season with a sprained wrist, ankle and thumb and struggled shooting. The time off has let him heal and also see what Lin is doing with the offense and the overall confidence of the team.

"We were looking for a Jeremy Lin, a point guard," Anthony said Wednesday on Mike Francesa's show on WFAN. "Jeremy Lin stepped up and took up that role. It just shows in our system that we have that we definitely need a point guard."

Both players said they will have to adjust their games. Anthony won't have the ball as much as he did, but he said he can play off of Lin and has no problem if he takes fewer shots.

Lin said he won't have to do as much and that Anthony should open up the floor more. Against the Kings, Lin took only six shots and had 13 assists in only 26:16. "My shots will go down and my assists will go up," Lin said.

It has bothered Anthony that he's gone from being a player Knicks fans loved to one they're now worried about seeing come back. After all that's been said, it will be surprising if he doesn't go out of his way to make it work.

"It'll just take time for him to get back out there and kind of quiet the critics," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "We have no worries. He's a phenomenal player. He's going to fit right in with us."

"The guy gives me advice all the time," Lin said. "I look up to Melo. He's a leader on this team, captain. We need him out there and we're excited to have him back. We're going to find a way to be even more explosive offensively."

J.R. may be Knick. Explosive free-agent guard J.R. Smith, who was Anthony's teammate in Denver, just returned from China, and all signs point to his joining the Knicks. An agreement could be reached in the next few days, league sources said.

Smith's agent, Leon Rose, who also represents Anthony, attended Wednesday's game and reportedly met with Garden officials that night. The Knicks and Clippers were said to be Smith's top two choices.

The Knicks are working on opening a roster spot for him. Until about two weeks ago, Lin was the player the Knicks would have cut.

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