Bright Spot in Knicks’ Loss is Melo-Amar’e Tandem


NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony
took full responsibility for missing a six-foot jumper over Kris Humphries that could’ve helped the Knicks beat the Nets Monday evening at Madison Square Garden.

“I don’t make no excuses,” Anthony said after scoring 29 points on 11-of-29 shooting in the Knicks 88-85 loss to the rival Nets. “I should’ve made the shot. I don’t know what to say about that.”

Anthony’s missed shot followed a go-ahead fallaway jumper by Joe Johnson over J.R. Smith that put the Nets up for good, 85-84.

“It was good defense until the end,” Smith said.

“I don’t think it should’ve come down to that,” Anthony said.

The Nets’ win means they have now split the season series with the Knicks at two games apiece, which could have implications come playoff time. Brooklyn (25-16) pulled within one game of the Knicks (25-14) in the Atlantic Division standings, two in the loss column.

Despite the loss, the good news for the Knicks is that Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire  (15 points) played well at stretches together, with Anthony finding Stoudemire for a dunk as he cut down the lane early in the fourth period. The basket tied the game at 70.

“It was just basic basketball,” Anthony said. “He was open, he found an open spot, I found him, he converted.”

Much has been made of the numbers when Anthony and Stoudemire play together, but  as Stoudemire works his way back, it is imperative for the Knicks’ fortunes that they play well together.

“I’m definitely excited about having him back and pushing his minutes up a little bit more as ths season goes on but today he was doing a great job of playing off of me when I had the ball and finding the open spot and me finding him,” Anthony said.

“So that’s gonna happen and we wanna get that a lot, especially when teams put bigger guys on myself and have somebody on him and his man has to come off of him and help when I attack and leaves him wide open, so it’s common sense basketball, give him the ball when he’s open and he’ll finish.”

Stoudemire entered averaging 10.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. He is not playing at the All-Star level he has been accustomed to, but he, too, feels a growing comfort level with Anthony.

He scored 11 of his 15 in the second half.

“The first half I got into a little foul trouble so I couldn’t be as aggressive as I wanted to, ” Stoudemire said. “Carmelo was playing great basketball and found me on a couple of drop off passes. The chemistry was working well there.”

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