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Lin, ‘Melo together showed a lot of potential in first game

Feb 21, 2012, 2:56 PM EDT

Carmelo Anthony, Jeremy Lin, Mike D'Antoni AP

Let’s be clear — there was a lot of uncertainty and plenty of rust in the Knicks first game with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin in the lineup together. It was far from pretty.

Stoudemire spent most of the game as the weakside option, something he will do more of but he needs to get more touches. Anthony and Lin had an awkward chemistry, as one should expect in a first game together. Fitting the successful Lin/Tyson Chandler pick-and-roll in the play rotation is not as simple as it sounds, either.

But there were some real signs of potential Monday.

The challenge is spacing — Stoudemire and Anthony prefer to work out of the same spaces on the floor. Ken Berger of spoke to a scout on the issue and had this telling paragraph.

Here’s the other, and perhaps more important issue: Anthony likes to set up and call for the ball in an area that is between the low block and the 3-point line, a little wider than most mid-post isolation scorers want the ball. Anthony has been effective his entire career from that area, because he has so many options from there. But he also takes up a lot of space, thus killing the corner 3-pointer – so crucial to (Knick coach Mike) D’Antoni’s style – on that side of the floor, and also crowding out the pick-and-roll and wing penetration.

What the Knicks need to do is mix it up — ‘Melo wing isolations, Lin pick-and-rolls with Stoudemire and Chandler, much more — and go with whatever the other team can’t stop. It is what the Spurs have done so brilliantly during their 11-game win streak — adjust, find out what the other team struggles to defend then club them with it. Over and over.

The Knicks have some devastating potential options out there. Things we only saw flashes of in this first game as they struggled to adjust. Seeing Anthony in the post was one — he can be a beast there if matched up on a smaller defender. That also led to a monster dunk from Stoudemire who cut down the lane on one of those post plays.

We talk about Stoudemire as the screener (a role we know he thrives in), but the Knicks tried Anthony as the screener as well. And on a few plays they set staggered screens for Lin with Anthony and ‘Melo (or Chandler) which Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated loved.

Throw two dangerous screeners at Lin, and you’re bound to create an opportunity for someone — Lin, one of the screeners, or Stoudemire, lurking again on the weak side above the foul line.

Lin knows how to make good decisions, when he gets used to everything guys will get the ball in rhythm.

Knicks fans, I know it seems like all you’ve heard all season is “be patient.” Well, sorry, but you still need to be patient. The Knicks didn’t lose because of Carmelo Anthony being back, they lost because Deron Williams is very good and had a huge chip on his shoulder. You need give this time — the Knicks are not going to score just 91.1 points per 100 possessions like this for very long. It’s going to come together.

There is a lot of potential here, and you are just scratching the surface of it after one game.

  1. cakemixa - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Championship contenders.

  2. tomshoe - Feb 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Lol at the Spurs “club them with it” remark. Pretty much sums up the Spurs’s style of play.

  3. Justin - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Gotta love this optimism after losing by 18 against one of the worst defenses in the league!

  4. losangelasbasketball - Feb 21, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    He said potential,…. Hah…. Thats one way u could look at it….

  5. msw11 - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Justin isn’t very good at Math. 100 – 92 = 8 point loss not 18

    • caeser12 - Feb 22, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Neither are the 12 “special” people who gave him a thumbs up.

  6. limonadamas - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    The Knicks’ recent run was predicated on tight defense, chemistry, timely shooting, and weak schedule. The problem with most of the “stars” on the Knicks (i.e. Melo and Stat) is that tight defense is either not a priority or not in their repertoire. The Knicks need to come up with a defensive philosophy and they need to stick by it as a team if they want to make any noise in the postseason.

    They missed Shumpert last night for sure. I bet Deron gets his numbers with Shump on him anyway, but with a lot more effort.

  7. premiumpit - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Please melo let Lin take control of the game…we dont care about hOw big if a star u are or wanna be….ALLL WE WANNA DO IS WIN…

    • md23rewlz - Feb 22, 2012 at 1:39 AM

      It is unfortunate that Carmelo Anthony isn’t one of the best offensive players in the league who also happened to win a championship in college and take a deep well-rounded Denver team to the Western Conference Finals a few years ago, proving that he could play just fine in a team system. If only that was the case. If. Only. But no. Let that guy who had two great weeks, Jeremy Lin, take control. That’s how you win a championship.

  8. rob0527 - Feb 21, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    It’s just one game, they really missed Shumpert. He would have kept Deron in check. Besides have u seen a game with more cheap shots than last nights.

  9. dysraw1 - Feb 21, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    calm down folks its 1 game and i am not the type to say that the game was a moral victory, but i like what i see on the floor accept all that b.s between Tyson and humphries Kardashian

  10. thetooloftools - Feb 21, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    I hope Mellow gets it. He is a diva 8itch as we all know.

  11. klownboy - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    They should be just fine. No one, I mean NO ONE, would want to face the Knicks in the playoffs…

  12. willardj - Feb 21, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    The Bobcats offense has also shown a lot of potential this season.

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