The Knicks improved to 4-0 since Mike D’Antoni resigned as head coach with a 19-point win over the Raptors on Tuesday. Because reports mentioned D’Antoni having a difficult relationship with Carmelo Anthony, it’s interesting now to follow how Anthony’s play has been affected. And while his numbers have taken a slight dip (credit that to four blowouts), Carmelo has started looking like he actually gives a crap on defense. He notices it, too, and, as he told Newsday on Monday, he says it’s because of a newfound “energy” that just so happened to show up after D’Antoni left town.
“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,” Carmelo said. “Everybody on this team knows, everybody in the world knows I can score the basketball. It’s not that important to me.”
When asked for his reaction to Carmelo’s comments, interim coach Mike Woodson, well, didn’t really have one: “I can’t explain that, I can’t. I wish I could. We probably wouldn’t be sitting in this position that we’re sitting in today, fighting for a playoff spot.”
Maybe Woodson should take more credit. According to Anthony, there’s a fresher sense of accountability since the coaching change.
“When (Woodson) got the job, I told him, ‘Hold me accountable,'” Anthony said. “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.”
Carmelo contends that he and D’Antoni had no beef, but, with that said, it is interesting he makes a remark about essentially trying harder than when D’Antoni was around. Then again, maybe a change at the top was enough to influence Carmelo to make his own changes. Or maybe it’s just because Woodson is somebody with whom he’s more comfortable having an open line of communication.
H/T Pro Basketball Talk
Photo credit: Debby Wong, US Presswire