- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Carmelo Anthony doesn’t know why he can’t seem to make shots -- but the Knicks small forward isn’t concerned.
“I wish I had an answer,” said Anthony, who went 1-for-7 in the first half before making four of his last five shots in his team’s 101-79 blowout victory over the Pistons on Saturday night at the Garden.
“I’m not worried about that. I’ve been around this game a long time, and it happens."
Anthony, who finished with 15 points in 29 minutes, came into Saturday night’s shooting 37.1 percent (26-for-70) from the field in his previous five contests -- including 2-for-16 from 3-point range and 7-for-30 on jumpers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said he wanted to help Anthony get on the right track. So after the 27-year-old All-Star missed six of his first seven shots, Woodson ran two early plays in third quarter for Anthony -- both of which resulted in layups.
“I opened up the second half with two plays to get Carmelo closer to the bucket and he delivered both times,” Woodson said. “As a coach, I have to help him -- that’s my job. I’m willing to continue to work with him and try to put him in the best position possible to be successful to help us win.
“He drew two plays for me and we executed them and got some easy ones,” said Anthony, who added another layup and a 13-foot jumper in the period. “But as far as my offensive game goes, I’m telling you, I promise you, I’m not concerned about that.”
The Knicks are 6-1 in their last seven games, so that’s understandable. But if they’re going to make a playoff run, Anthony is going to have to become the elite offensive player he was in Denver. The Knicks can’t afford for him to become a ball-stopper on offense due to the fact he thrives in isolation sets. At the same time, they aren’t paying him $18.5 million this season to defer to others.
The Knicks (24-25), who currently have a 1.5-game lead over the Bucks (22-26) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, will host Milwaukee on Monday night.
“That’s a very big game for us,” Anthony said. “We need that game, and we’re gonna go out there and do everything in our power to go and get it.”
A strong performance by Anthony would go a long way toward making that happen.
4dESPN Stats & Information
8dChad Ford and Kevin Pelton