Mike Woodson gave perhaps his most staunch defense ever of Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday.
Responding to a question about critics of Anthony, Woodson said: “Me personally, I don’t really care about what other people think about Carmelo Anthony because those people are not around Carmelo every day. I see Carmelo pretty much every day. I see his teammates every day. And I know the work that the young man has put in as a player.
“And a lot of these people probably never played basketball in their life and they make these comments about Melo and not being committed and they don’t think this and think that. Well, I think Carmelo is damn committed and he’s been that way since I’ve taken over the team, and that’s the only thing I can judge him by. And I like everything about him. I think his teammates love him. I think the fans here in New York love what he’s brought to the table this year in terms of his play on the floor. And we’ve all benefitted from it. And only time will tell.
“We’re up two games to zero and we gotta go into Boston and try to get a game, if not two games if we can. But we gotta go one at a time.”
Game 3 will be played Friday night in Boston, the first game there since the Marathon bombings and Woodson said he would try to have his team avoid getting too emotional.
The NBA scoring champion, Anthony has scored 70 points in the first two games of the series, while dishing out just two assists.
He has lost in the first round of the playoffs in eight of nine seasons but appears to have his best chance this year of making a deep run in the postseason.
In a column entitled, “Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony will never win it all,” Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote: “He’s not going to be an NBA champion. He’s not one of the all-time greats. He appears to be incapable of doing anything to help his team unless he has the ball in his hands.”
Speaking this week on ESPN1050 Radio, Shaughnessy seemed to backtrack a little, saying his objection to Melo was a “small, petty” thing based on growing up watching the Celtics teamwork in the 1960s.
On Monday at practice, Anthony responded to his critics.
It don’t matter,” he said. “I mean, it really don’t matter to me. I know what type of player that I am, I know that I share the ball, we share the ball as a team. Sometimes me sharing the ball, I don’t always get the assists.
“It is what it is. I really don’t pay attention to it.”