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Amar'e Stoudemire says he wasn't pointing finger at Carmelo Anthony

Knicks forwards Amar'e Stoudemire (left) and Carmelo Anthony

Knicks forwards Amar'e Stoudemire (left) and Carmelo Anthony look on against the Charlotte Bobcats. (Nov. 5, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

LOS ANGELES -- Amar'e Stoudemire said he wasn't singling out Carmelo Anthony when he blamed the Knicks' struggles on a lack of ball movement. Stoudemire blamed the media for perceiving it that way.

"When we say things as far as ball movement we're talking about as a team, as a whole," Stoudemire said before the Knicks faced the Clippers Wednesday night. "We all are a unit. It's not to single no one out at all. But you guys seem to do that.

"We're a team. We're together. We're united. When we discuss things about defense we talk about team defense. When we discuss things about ball movement, we're talking about team ball movement."

It was definitely a sore subject because Mike Woodson addressed the Knicks as a whole about it and defended Anthony to reporters Tuesday. Anthony wasn't available at the morning shootaround but seemed a bit annoyed by the topic Tuesday.

"Sometimes you hear it and it's like: at the end of the day it comes back on me," Anthony said. "But I'm not really worried about it.

"At the end of the day, we're not defending, we're not guarding anybody. We're just not believing and trusting in one another on the defensive end. And we have to fix that."

The Knicks have reasons to be worried. They took a six-game losing streak into Wednesday night's game against Chris Paul and the Clippers. Their defense overall -- they've allowed at least 102 points in seven of their last nine losses -- and especially against point guards have been the biggest reason for their slide.

Raymond Felton returned after missing four games with a pinched nerve in his hip. But his defense wasn't good when he was healthy and there isn't a tougher point guard to cover than Paul, who is averaging 19.3 points and 12.5 assists.

The last thing the Knicks need now is for players to point fingers, although no names were mentioned. It was Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert who brought up a lack of ball movement as a major issue after the Knicks lost in Portland Monday night.

Stoudemire was asked if he tried to clear the air with Anthony about what he said and what he meant.

"We all know we're together," Stoudemire said. "We talk about what we need to do to improve. There's no sense of really sitting down one-on-one with anyone. We understand what we need to do to win. We love each other on and off the court. Once we start winning, everything will smooth out."

Ball movement has been blamed for Knicks' losses frequently ever since Anthony arrived in 2011. He has been a ball stopper throughout his career -- Stoudemire can be one, too.

But Anthony, who is averaging 26.5 points on a league-high 22.2 shots per game, has been moving the ball this year, passing out of double-teams, trying to get Andrea Bargnani involved. That's why it seems he's frustrated with the implication that he's the problem.

During the Pacers' series last year, the offense becoming too predictable and stagnant was a common refrain from the Knicks. Woodson was asked if whether that's a convenient excuse and whether guys are not looking at themselves to see what more they can do.

Woodson, with a big, telling smile, said, "You can look at it in that light."

"We all talked about it," Stoudemire said. "Defense is definitely an area where we can still win games if offensively we're not playing well. That's what Woodson's saying that we can still win ball games, win championships -- you can do these things if you play great defensively. We're starting to key in on that now."

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