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‘Melo basically admits he’s trying harder for Woodson

Mar 20, 2012, 12:18 PM EDT

New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony shakes hands with interim head coach Mike Woodson after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in their NBA basketball game in New York Reuters

The New York Knicks are 3-0 under new coach Mike Woodson. There haven’t been a lot of new offensive sets — they still run a lot of Jeremy Lin pick-and-rolls with Tyson Chandler, although Carmelo Anthony gets a few more isolations. The defense has improved.

What has been the difference? Carmelo Anthony is trying.

Credit it to Woodson holding ‘Melo accountable or whatever else you want, Anthony said he’s giving a better effort. Here is the quote, via Newsday.

“I think in the last three games, my focus was to have an energy that I haven’t had so far this season, especially on the defensive end,” he said. “Everybody on this team knows, everybody in the world knows I can score the basketball. It’s not that important to me.”

He will spin it another way, but is there another way to read that other than “I’m trying harder.” Coaching changes will bring a new energy to a team, but if you are the star of a team, the leader, it shouldn’t change the effort level.

Mike D’Antoni is more of a players’ coach — he’s not a screamer, he expects players to act like professionals. That worked great with a Steve Nash led locker room — he’s about as self motivated a guy as there is in the league.

That strategy did not work with the Knicks. Woodson, he gets in guys faces. Anthony said he welcomes that.

“When he got the job, I told him, ‘Hold me accountable,’ ” Anthony said of Woodson. “I don’t have a problem with criticism. If I can do something to help better this team, let me know. And he’s been doing that.”

The Knicks are primed for a push — and they need it. They are currently the eight seed in the East, half a game ahead of the Bucks. Just half a game from falling out of the playoffs altogether. They are three games back of Boston (the seven seed) and four back of division leading Philadelphia. Winning the Atlantic Division means avoiding the Heat or the Bulls in the first round, so it matters.

The Knicks have a run of eight games between now and the end of March. It starts off pretty easy (two against Toronto this week, one Tuesday night, plus the Pistons on Saturday). But there are key games ahead — Wednesday against Philadelphia, then next week against Milwaukee, Orlando and Atlanta. Those are the big tests to see if Woodson’s Knicks have taken a step forward or not.

But at least now the effort is there on both ends.

  1. cakemixa - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    “Everybody on this team knows, everybody in the world knows I can score the basketball.”

    This guy just can’t get enough of himself, can he?

    • b7p19 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      Is he wrong?

      • rodgersmvp - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        If it was a 1-on-1 league Melo would be one of the best. However, he is a bad teammate. I always thought the “black hole” thing was exaggerated, but this season it has been ridiculous. The Knicks can’t win with him having the ball the entire time.

      • b7p19 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        So are you saying he can or can not score the basketball?

      • nokoolaidcowboy - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        Melo, get off the forum. Sheesh.

    • 20dollardinners - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

      After winning the ESPY in 2003 for Best Male College Athlete,

      Carmelo said, “I also want to thank myself…I put in a lot of hard work day in and day out.”

      Nothing new here :)

      • adk77 - Mar 20, 2012 at 8:45 PM

        Did he work on his defense too?

  2. alan82386 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Melo man

  3. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    He scores easier than anyone else, he shouldn’t have to play more than 30 minutes per game until the playoffs (and not even then, if the bench continues producing — which it SHOULD). All the more reason why he and EVERYONE on the roster should be selling out on D. But particularly Anthony, who scores easier than anyone else in the NBA. You shouldn’t expend that much energy to score, so you can do these things defensively. That is what marks the growth of an all-star into a legitimate superstar. Only Kobe (even today) consistently does this, even if his offensive repertoire is growing limited and his FG percentage has been absymal at several junctures in the past three seasons.

  4. shockexchange - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    You mean the multi-million contract and the respect of his teammates and players around the league was not enough for him to play hard? This guy is simply reaffirming what everybody thought about him before he left Denver – a volume shooter with no heart.

  5. pbanach01 - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    These articles are getting old. Listen Melo is definitely at fault for not playing up to his potential on offense or defense for most of the year and has been chastised in the media for it. But people need to realize D’anotoni was a huge problem for the knicks with his offense and letting Lin do whatever he wanted. How can you let a player turn it over continuously and not hold him accountable? Or at least explain to him when to pull it out and run O and when to attack. Lin can ball and should have a nice career but dude is basically a rookie with limited experience playing the actual point guard position…you need to groom him into running the show not just say here run off a million picks. Great and even good point guards make players better and find their scorers when you need a bucket. In that offense it just was not happening consistently enough.

    Also that offense was not utilizing their BEST players at all. If you watched the games Melo would be standing around the 3pt line a lot because that is what the offense is about! Having your 3 out on the wing so they can shoot the long ball. This was never going to win a championship let alone a playoff series the way the team has looked.

    It is obvious Mike lost the team awhile ago and how could he not? Scoring 110 points and still losing couldn’t be more dejecting, especially with all the high expectations. How is a team supposed to confident when the way they have been playing, even when they score a ton is still not yielding consistent wins? I AM NOT it is right by the players but unfortunately you see this a lot in the league…look at the Lakers. Lose a bit and everyone is talking about not liking Mike Brown’s system.

    Anyways their is no excuse for quitting on a coach and Melo and comp. is definitely at fault if that is the case. But let’s move on! Mike D was not going to win them a championship EVER and that is obvious. But the Knicks in their last three have looked inspired and amazingly like a tightly ran regime. They will still have plenty of bumps along the way but real Knick’s fan’s have got to be excited about the future and the pieces they have in place to build winning squad.

    • pbanach01 - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      build a winning squad*, D’iantoni*, I AM NOT SAYING*.

  6. pbanach01 - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    spell check i know sorry.

  7. steelerdynasty2010 - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    well thank you for confirming that you’ve never been really committed to the game. you need your coach to hold you accountable? you actually made that request? what an arrogant, self-absorbed knucklehead. add him to list of great ones who will retire without a ring. he wont figure it out til late in his career when his ship has sailed and his skills are eroding. then he’ll be looking to pull a Karl Malone and latch on

    • protectthishouse54 - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      uh, Karl Malone. What a looooser.

      • steelerdynasty2010 - Mar 20, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        you must be speaking of his personal life. if you’re talking about basketball, um….you might be officially clueless

      • theonlysaneblazerfan - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:17 PM

        Karl Malone is one of the most overrated players of all time. He was afraid to to touch the ball with the game on the line. He makes LeBron look like MJ in the game-closing department. He never would have been half as successful if he hadn’t spent his (almost) entire career playing with Stockton who provided him with easy basket after easy basket. Without Stockton he may never have been an All-Star, let alone a hall of famer. His MVP award should have an asterisk next to it since it was basically a “we don’t want to give it to Jordan again” award. He also played in one of the most talent diluted periods in NBA history (late 90’s).

  8. xrateplaya - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Stop sayin this loser knows how to score. He shoots so many shots of course hell score.. When u score 21 points on 28 shots u suck!

    • leearmon - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      @xrateplaya Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant disagree with you.

      • lmoneyfresh - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        This year’s stats, Kobe – 43% fg, Rose – 45% fg, Melo – 40%. Just sayin.

      • leearmon - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        Yes in a lock-out shortened season Melo’s fg% is 3 points less than Kobe’s. However throughout the duration of each player’s career you can see Melo is just as good, if not better than Rose / Kobe in terms of TS% or layman’s FG%

        … Just sayin.

    • loungefly74 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      keep in mind…he “sucks” because they are not a successful team. if the Knicks were in 1st place, no one would care about his “volume” shooting. winning cures all. that (and other things) is what separates melo from the likes of kobe or rose.

  9. thraiderskin - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I would have guessed it was because Woodson is black… but i’m probably just some racist looking for whatever angle I could find so I could make the comment.

    • slowclyde86 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      Probably so, yes.

      • slowclyde86 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        To be clear, I was referring to your self-assessment and not your assessment of the knicks dynamic.

  10. dysraw1 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    the media insist on selling the idea that Carmelo Anthony is at fault for Dick D’antoni going down. come on ppl wake up we are talking about coach that allowed his team to take 43 3s against the Heat

    • md23rewlz - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      Contrary to popular belief, the coach is not literally in the player’s head when they choose their shot. If J.R. Smith wants to shoot the three J.R. Smith will shoot the three because he is J.R. Smith and J.R. Smith shoots the three whenever he feels like it because he is J.R. Smith is that clear he is J.R. Smith. Insert any Knicks player who shoots too many threes into this equation and it still works!

    • mr9teen - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      A team that took 43 3’s against the Heat because he has not clue how to stop anyone. We actually can play in a close game and win against the Heat. Did it last year and can do it again. Deeper bench than the Heat also. However when they keep getting long rebounds that’s just easy transition points for them. That’s why guys were not hustling back. Damn tired of defending in transition.

  11. dysraw1 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    we are talking about a coach that when told not to use 1 of there best players at that time in Stephon Marbury complied without a peep, Larry Hugh said you never know where you stand with this guy[ meaning ricky-D] when Nate Robinson got sent to Boston he said at least now i can trust the coach.

    • LPad - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      don’t forget Shaq. This is a coach that said he couldn’t win with a healthy Shaq.

  12. rft1906 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Lin made everyone on that team better while melo and amare were out. Their defense won those linsanity games not lin’s offense. They have also won these games with defense. Play defense melo and amare and we will win. Is Baron doing something special or is it the spread.offense(Novak shoting and shump slashing), defense(shump, jefferies,smith)and the hustle(jefferies) of the second squad that has excelled. Hey they even survive Smith playing melo’s jock role for that unit. It wasnt Lin its teamwork……..

  13. dysraw1 - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Mike D’antoni needed to go , an if Melo was tanking it anytime this year it was not noticeable. the thing that bother’s me those most about this is his phony attitude in caring about the developement of players.

    • LPad - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      I think D’Antoni’s inability to develop players doesn’t get enough attention. At the beginning of the year, we should have been asking him why Toney Douglas couldn’t run his system after spending three years in it. I’m not talking at an all star level, I’m talking at a level that would have prevented D’Antoni from making Melo a “point forward.”

  14. 00maltliquor - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    He’s more motavated ’cause know there’s more of a fire up under his ass with Mike D now gone pressumably because of him. He wants to show it was the coach, not him who was the problem. This won’t last for long once he gets comfortable that the perception on him has changed, then he’ll go back to his old shenanagans.

  15. thatguywhoisactuallyamiamisportsfan - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Can’t say I didn’t see this one coming.

  16. LPad - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I think Melo is talking about focus from a defensive standpoint and given that D’Antoni doesn’t believe defense exists and left Phoenix because Steve Kerr wanted to bring in a defensive coach (just like Knicks eventually did with Woodson it isn’t surprising). And its not just Melo playing better defense and being held accountable. For example, Fields was benched in Indiana for blowing a couple of rotations and Lin is now actually fighting over picks. Anyone that believes that D’Antoni focuses on defense is kidding themselves.

    • mr9teen - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Thank you. That was the whole reason that the Knicks hired Woodson was because D’Antoni didn’t stress defense enough or at all for that matter. The clowns in here that want to make it about Melo don’t know crap about basketball and don’t understand that Defense wins championships not 7 seconds or less euroball.

    • dysraw1 - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      even Stoudemire is moving his feet

  17. jonirocit - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Melo was born to be a loser and always will be . He was jealous of linsanity and had to get his way. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise . He is selfish , greedy. And still immature. Knicks will regret this cancer.

  18. sunsation3413 - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    He’s a selfish lazy player who doesn’t care about anything but his ego and his paycheck. No team will ever win with him.

    • mogogo1 - Mar 20, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      And no coach will ever get consistent effort out of him on the defensive end. Sure, he didn’t like D’Antoni so he’s putting forward some effort for Woodson, but he’s never been committed to defense and it won’t last this time, either.

      • mr9teen - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:24 PM

        What coach has he had professionally that is committed to defense. Please don’t say George Karl because his style of play looks very familiar to D’Antoni.

  19. nokoolaidcowboy - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I’m not happy about this guy. He forgets how well the team did without him. I would never wish him injury bu he should shut his mouth and just play before he finds himself sidelined and sees what the guys can do without him. The Knicks really do not need this guy, seriously.

  20. mr9teen - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    This nonsense is getting so old. It’s obviously that D’Antoni needs to adjust his coaching style to fit the players he has. Everyone has been playing better defensively since Woodson has taken over. EVERYONE. Guys are moving faster on the defensive end since not having to play so fast on the offensive end every play. D’Antoni’s style would not have gotten NY a championship. Much the same way it didn’t get the Suns one. Guys are rejuvinated now that they can focus on D and get offensive opportunities instead of the D’Antoni way of winning a game by outscoring teams. I would play harder for type of coach too. That’s the American way of playing basketball not that Eurocrap that is being forced down our throats.

  21. md23rewlz - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:46 AM

    The unfortunate thing about all this Carmelo stuff is that it has dragged up multiple commonly used arguments that simply aren’t true. Argument 1: Carmelo only cares about himself! Carmelo’s ego is too big and he will never be a winner! Argument 1 conveniently forgets that Anthony won a national title with Syracuse, and (more importantly) was on very very good Denver teams, one of which made it all the way to the Western Finals before losing to a Lakers team that went on to win the NBA title. Clearly, it is possible to build a team and system around the guy that will result in winning basketball. The Knicks just haven’t built that roster, which isn’t Carmelo’s fault. Now, of course he can do more to work himself into the team concept in New York, but the idea that Carmelo Anthony is a me-first loser has no basis in reality. And the argument that somehow an NBA player having an ego is a horrible thing is just funny to me. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant probably think it’s pretty funny too, as they are polishing their rings. Every NBA player has an ego, and almost all of the best players have huge ones. Argument 2: The Knicks were a better team when Anthony was out! Something something something Jeremy Lin! LINSANITY!!! The problem with Argument 2 is that it completely exists in a vacuum of seven or eight games in which Lin played at an unsustainable level against a bunch of mostly mediocre/bad teams. Hopefully in the future, Argument 1/The Sequel to Argument 1 will not be seen as much, because hey, the Knicks are on a winning streak again, and thus it is time to start overreacting to Woodson’s influence until they start losing again and everybody decides that the guy doesn’t deserve to be a head coach. Gotta love Knick fans.

    • mikeminnc - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      Remember when the Big Virus was on the Olympic team for Athens and Larry Brown wasn’t using him at all, and he would continuously whine about how there was “no love for Melo”. The Big Virus had the honor of representing his country on the friggin Olympic, and all he could do was pout about being treated unfairly by Larry Brown.

      The Big Virus will give some extra effort for awhile, but eventually he will poison this team. That’s what viruses do.

  22. teedraper - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    Helin is the worst writer….EVER

  23. detroitcityryda - Mar 21, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Yea cuz he’s black .

  24. shrimper59 - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    If he doesn’t have the integrity to play hard every game for himself and his family, he
    Will be a loser nomatter how many games he wins. I guess when meelo gets lazy again it
    Means time for a new coach. Headlines in 10 years “i could have won a title, but i just didn’t
    Feel like it”

  25. boilerup1869 - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    melo is a loser lol

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