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Phil Jackson criticizes Carmelo Anthony’s ball movement

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, is defended

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, is defended by Miami Heat forward Rodney McGruder during the first half of an NBA game at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Dec. 6, 2016. Credit: EPA / Rhona Wise

Add Carmelo Anthony to the list of All-Star players unhappy with things Phil Jackson said.

Jackson criticized Anthony for being a ball stopper in an interview with CBS Sports Network Tuesday. The timing was curious since the Knicks had won four in a row before last night’s loss to Cleveland, and Anthony had been playing well.

“I don’t even know what was said to be honest with you,” Anthony said. “I just don’t even want to talk about that, what he’s talking about exactly. I want to stay away from that at this point. My focus is my teammates and winning. We’ve been playing great basketball and that’s the only thing I’m focused on.

“Whatever Phil said he said it. I have nothing to say about that.”

When Anthony was first asked about it, he uncharacteristically abruptly ended the interview.

“Oh come on, man,” Anthony said. “I’m gone, man. Thank you. Sorry man. I don’t want to answer those questions.”

But then Anthony stuck around to answer a couple more questions.

Jackson, who drew the ire of LeBron James for referring to his business associates as a “posse,” was asked about how Anthony is fitting in the triangle offense. He said he holds the ball too long.

“Carmelo a lot of times wants to hold the ball longer than — we have a rule: If you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense,” Jackson said in an interview with CBS Sports Network. “So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold it for three, four, five seconds, and then everybody comes to a stop.

“That is one of the things we work with. But he’s adjusted, he knows what he can do and he’s willing to see its success.”

Anthony has hit two game-winning shots in the last 12 days and scored 35 points Tuesday to lead the Knicks over the Heat.

“I think there’s probably times that happens, but then there’s other times when he does what he did [Tuesday] night and just carries us,” Jeff Hornacek said. “It’s a fine balance. He’s a star player who can really create his own shot from that midrange area.

“Sometimes we talk about maybe moving the ball and holding it, maybe it’s a second or two too long for a normal guy, but for Carmelo it’s fine because he can make that play.”

James avoids Trump SoHo

For the first time in 14 years, LeBron James didn’t stay with his team on a road trip. James confirmed that he did not spend the night at the Cavaliers’ team hotel in New York — the Trump SoHo — though others on the Cavaliers, including coach Tyronn Lue, did.

The 46-story Trump SoHo is managed by Donald Trump’s company but not owned by it.

“I’m not trying to make a statement,” said James, who supported Hillary Clinton during her campaign. “It’s just my personal preference. At the end of the day, I hope he’s one of the best presidents ever, for all of our sakes — my family, for all of us. It’s just my personal preference. It would be the same if I went to a restaurant and decided to eat chicken or not steak.”

Anthony honored

Anthony and Kevin Durant, co-captains of the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s Olympic team, were named co-recipients of the 2016 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year award. It’s the third time Anthony has won.

“It’s just humbling,” said Anthony, the first male basketball player to win three Olympic gold medals.

Smith stays home

Former Knick J.R. Smith (hyper-extended left knee) remained in Cleveland and was replaced in the starting lineup by DeAndre Liggins.

New York Sports