Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks in action...

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks in action against the Nets. (Feb. 4, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Carmelo Anthony left the Knicks’ locker room right about the time Mike D’Antoni was discussing the small forward’s performance against the Mavericks.

Anthony’s plan was to be even quieter than he was in the Knicks’ 95-85 loss to the Mavericks. Anthony scored just six points, none in the second half and his first thought was not to say anything to the media.

But Anthony returned and spoke outside the locker room, still looking and sounding as frustrated as you might imagine him to be after a performance like this one.
It wasn’t just Anthony. It was the Knicks as a team.

They needed to get Anthony more involved offensively. But he can’t get frustrated the way he did. He looked out of sync on the court and is going through a major adjustment. He went from having the ball in his hands most of the time for the Knicks’ first 23 games to waiting around to get it sometimes.

This isn’t about Jeremy Lin and Anthony coexisting with him. Speaking of Lin, he also was out of the game for a long portion of the Knicks’ run, but no one said anything about him returning at the same point Anthony did.

Lin had to come back because Baron Davis was tired. But Lin hasn’t been as effective lately on either end of the court. In the last two games, he’s 10-for-29 with 28 points, 12 assists and eight turnovers. In those games, his point guard opponent – Rajon Rondo and Jason Kidd – combined for 33 points, 26 assists and 21 rebounds.

People will make this about Anthony or about Anthony and Lin, but it’s about the Knicks finding a balance. They have to include Anthony in the pick-and-roll. They have to let him run isolation plays.

He may have started 1-of-7, but they can’t entirely go away from him, and he has to be more aggressive when he gets the ball.

He can’t just hoist shots like he did when he re-entered the game with under 4 minutes remaining. He took a quick three on the Knicks’ second possession after he returned, hoping to stop what became a 14-0 Mavericks’ run.

That’s the Knicks’ problem sometimes. They’re looking for the big home run play instead of working the ball around and getting the best shot.

In the Celtics’ game, when the Knicks made their first-half run, they had countless turnovers by throwing the ball up ahead carelessly. Speaking of that Celtics’ game, what worked late in regulation was the Knicks getting the ball to Anthony and letting him operate.

The Knicks have that kind of player and they should go to him. Amar’e Stoudemire had it going against the Mavericks so you understood he had to get touches. But Anthony can’t be a decoy or not involved for that long.


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