Thursday, February 16, 2012

Melo refutes selfish tag, still wants last shot


source: Mike Mazzeo | ESPN NewYork.com

New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony disagrees with the widespread notion that he's "a selfish player."

"That's like a slap in the face," Anthony said during an interview with Stephen A. Smith on SportsCenter on Wednesday night. "None of my teammates I've ever played with would say that I was a selfish player. Nobody."

Point guard Jeremy Lin has reinvigorated the once-flailing Knicks (14-15), who have won six straight games heading into Wednesday night's contest with the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden. Lin has recorded 20 or more points and seven or more assists in each.

But many wonder if Anthony, who thrives off isolation sets on offense, can co-exist with the 23-year-old "Lin-sation," who has turned the Knicks back into a high-octane pick-and-roll squad.

"It's a tough situation. I'm human at the end of the day, so it's like damn, where is this coming from?" Anthony said. "I know I'm not a selfish player. People around me know I'm not a selfish player. I do everything I can to make people around me understand I'm not a selfish player."


Anthony still wants the last shot, though.

"Of course I want to take the last shot, let's be quite frank: I've been doing for nine years already, and I've made a ton of them," he said.

Anthony said Lin has given the Knicks exactly what they've always needed: a competent point guard.

"Jeremy Lin was a blessing in disguise for us," Anthony said. "He fell down from upstairs for us in the situation that we've been looking for a guy to take over that position. But it's going to take a lot of work, but I'm willing to do it, and we've all got to be willing to do it."

Anthony, who has been out since Feb. 6 with a groin injury, says he can take some of the pressure off of Lin when he returns to the lineup. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said Wednesday he's still on pace to return later this week, with Friday being a possibility.

Anthony said it will allow other players like power forward Amare Stoudemire and center Tyson Chandler to fit in and acclimate themselves on both ends of the floor.

As for the team's playoff hopes going forward, Anthony said, "We're a tough matchup with that team [the Miami Heat]. For anybody."

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.