Can Melo Fit In With Lin? Knicks’ Duo Off To Rough Start

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Carmelo Anthony had mostly been a bystander as Jeremy Lin went from the end of the Knicks’ bench to the biggest story in sports.

New York won eight of nine games with Lin leading the way, and Melo nursing an injury that kept him out of action for the last seven of those games.

Anthony returned Monday night only to see Deron Williams and the Nets put a damper on all the excitement.

“We lost what we were doing the last eight or nine games,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It wasn’t (Melo’s) fault.”

LISTEN: Mike D’Antoni breaks down loss to Nets

Williams scored a season-high 38 points and outplayed Lin, while Anthony slogged through his first outing in two weeks and New Jersey beat New York 100-92.

Lin scored 21 points, shooting 7 for 18 with nine assists. Not bad.

Anthony, however, struggled after missing seven games with a groin injury. The All-Star foward scored 11 points and went 4 for 11 from the field. He missed shots around the rim he usually finishes, had six turnovers — including a dribble off his foot — and even missed half of his six free throws.

New York fans have been worrying about whether Anthony’s return would disrupt the Linsanity. This won’t help ease their fears.

“My mindset was not try to come in and do too much. Try to fit in. Try to play my game within the system the way that they’ve been playing the last couple weeks,” Anthony said.

Anthony’s first basket came off a connection with Lin, setting a pick and popping out for a jumper. But the Knicks’ offense went stagnant in the second quarter, and Williams took over the game in the third.

“I want Jeremy to have the ball. Hands down,” Anthony said. “I want him to create for me. I want him to create for Amar’e (Stoudamire). I want him to create for everybody and still be as aggressive as he’s been over the past two weeks. I want that.”

Lin began his remarkable run against the Nets about two weeks ago, but Williams and the Nets were ready for him this time.

“I don’t really watch too many games, but I do see Twitter, people tweet me and every, you know, three lines it was ‘Jeremy Lin destroyed Deron Williams,'” Williams said. “So I definitely took offense to that in the first game and definitely, like I said, I had it circled.”

Williams outscored Lin 36-11 through three quarters, when the Nets led by 18. The Knicks lost for the second time in 10 games since Lin’s emergence against the Nets on Feb. 4.

“Obviously, Deron Williams going for 30-whatever he had is not going to get it done,” Lin said. “So I needed to come out with more energy, the team needed to come out with more energy and I think at the end of the day, I think that’s why the team lost.”

Williams scored 18 in the third quarter, including 12 straight Nets points during one surge. Clearly amped up for the rematch — maybe too much so, because he fouled out with 3:07 left — he skipped across the court with three fingers in the air after burying a second straight 3-pointer during his blistering stretch.

“I don’t think Deron Williams needs much of a prod,” D’Antoni said. “That’s one of the best guards in the league. Jeremy still got 21 and nine. He had a great game, good game. Deron had a great game and that’ll be that way sometimes. Again, I’m not big on the matchups just because it’s a team thing and as a team we just didn’t perform very well.”

A Knicks offense that rang up 104 points against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks on Sunday shot only 40 percent against the Nets.

In addition to welcoming back Anthony, Baron Davis played his first game with the Knicks. The former All-Star point guard, relegated to Lin’s backup now, had three points and an assist in just under 10 minutes.

And it was the second game for guard J.R. Smith, who signed with the Knicks after returning from a stint playing in China.

The Knicks found a winning formula with Lin. Now, D’Antoni has to tweak it without ruining it.

“We have to get this thing sorted,” he said. “We have to figure out the type of team, the identity we have to have.”

Anthony didn’t seem too worried.

“As far as identity we’ve had last couple weeks, it was there,” he said. “I don’t think nothing is going to change.

“There’s going to be an adjustment. New roles. New guys.”

Notes: Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert sat out with a left knee injury and will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break. … Nets C Brook Lopez, who just returned Sunday after breaking his foot in the preseason, sat out as part of the plan to not play him yet on back-to-back nights. … The Knicks honored former coach Joe Lapchick, and players Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton and John Rucker as part of their “Pioneer Night: A Celebration In Black History.” Clifton was the first African-American to play for the Knicks, though Rucker preceded him by two weeks in training camp in 1950, becoming the first African-American to wear the team’s uniform.

Do you think Melo can coexist with Lin? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • SickSwiff

    Carmelo Is the worst ALLSTAR I have ever see. Let me take that back! Melo is NO! allstar and is NO SUPERSTAR. A superstar knows how to play with others. Knicks will not go far with Melo on board. Line is a all around BETTER player then melo. Trade melo for some shooters and defenders and whatch this knicks team shoot to the top.

  • pugphan

    Damn! Messing with the chemistry…not good. smokersodysseycom

  • mike dayem

    melo was on bench when jemery lin was play good so melo came back and knicks lose to sorry team is NETS is could happened to anyway one have bad games just see next game knicks how melo play and knicks win again

  • G-men

    Bottom line is that Stoudemire & Anthony both need not only to step up their defense but they are not playing well on the offensive end… Again, how much are we paying these guys to perform at a high level ??? I will give it another week before panic sets in with the fans… Let’s Go Knicks !!!

  • Joe

    Trade melo for better shooters and defenders and hand the team to Lin, he will lead the knicks to the promise land. bank on that, and expect the knicks to go into a losing streak with melo back. Offense gets really stagnant with melo in the lineup, and Lin is too passive.

  • lin can help melo if...

    …melo wants the help. i’m not trying to be vague here but i think melo is a little resentful of lin right now and he’s gotta get past that for the sake of the team and winning. they still talk about melo in denver and his work ethic. lin could be a good spark for melo but melo has to step up and make the change. in the end you have to want to win at whatever the cost. melo has great skills and lin has a ton of enthusiasm. this could be “magic time” and i hope they embrace it. i believe in the knicks and d’antoni. this can happen. d’antoni is a smart guy. smarter than we probably know. hey, he’s got lin out on the floor makin’ people believe.

  • LI Teacher

    it most definately will ause problems with the Knicks. You have a hard working, under the radar kid in Lin now playing with someone who thinks he is a superstar and doesnt have the same work ethic. The Knicks are done unless they sit Anthony.

    • Kenny

      Agree. I am disappointed by d’antoni’s decision. He stopped the wimming team without any reason. Sport is more of an art than science. There is something mystery. We don’t know why Lin’s team win, but as long as it wins, don’t stop it. How stupid d’antoni is. If Lin’s winning stopped for several games, you can try new player(melo), but no now. I’m so angry to see a beatiful team being destroyed. Stupid coarch.

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