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Challenge Accepted: Carmelo Anthony Takes Lead For Woodson’s Kick-Started Knicks

(credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

(credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) – It’s been an up-and-down season for Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

He was out of the lineup just two months ago, battling numerous injuries — and the notion that he’s too selfish of a player to succeed alongside phenom Jeremy Lin.

Now Lin is out, and it’s Anthony lighting up the scoreboard. Melo acknowledged to hearing the criticism Monday morning.

“It’s all good with me, man,” Melo told WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. “Any challenges I have to face, I face them head on. Right now, these last couple weeks, the most important thing is I’m healthy. That was my biggest thing this year.”

Listen: Melo with Boomer & Carton

The 27-year-old has responded in a big way, scoring over 40 points in two of his last five games. He’s averaged 22.2 points and 6.2 rebounds this season.

Anthony said when Mike Woodson took over for the departed Mike D’Antoni, the interim head coach “sat down in front of everybody” and pointed to his All-Star, enticing him to take on the responsibilities of a team leader.

Challenge accepted.

“It was a new start for me, it was a new start for the team,” Anthony said. “It was a new start for the New York Knicks.”

The Knicks were hot and cold in the years under D’Antoni’s. Even through the simmering period of Linsanity, there were rumblings of whether the run-and-gun system would ever be able to work with Anthony & Co.

Woodson has marked a return to the post-up game — and has the resurgent Knicks hanging on to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

“Everybody has bought in,” said Anthony. “From myself to Amar’e, all the way down to the end of the bench. All the way down to the staff, everybody has bought in. Everybody is being held accountable, everybody is more responsible for their actions.

“And, you know, we had to go through what we went through at the beginning of the season, through the middle of the season to get where we’re at right now.”

Also on Monday, Anthony disclosed he hadn’t heard anything about the return of forward Amar’e Stoudemire. But that doesn’t mean there’s bad news. In fact, Anthony said the injured All-Star’s workouts have been going “extremely well.”

“(Stoudemire) is there early before we get there and then after, when we leave, he works out again,” Anthony said.

What’s your take on Melo? Will he ever lead the Knicks to the promised land? Sound off below!