Stoudemire, Anthony Benched in 4th
A damning and straightforward admission from a coach on the last year of his contract who sees all the supposed promise of a star-studded roster with an out-of-nowhere point guard going down the drain. But it was hardly (Mike) D’Antoni’s boldest move of the day.
After the bench had led the Knicks back from a big deficit in Dallas, D’Antoni put Carmelo Anthony back in late and the Knicks lost by 10. So this time, D’Antoni left Anthony and (Amar’e) Stoudemire on the bench for the entire fourth quarter. A lineup consisting of Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert (replaced by J.R. Smith at the 9:51 mark) and Steve Novak stayed out there and cut the deficit to 10 before the Knicks lost by 12.
“These guys were fighting, they had us back,” D’Antoni said. “I just didn’t feel like it was fair to them to take them out and just try something else. I did it in Dallas, too. If guys are going to fight that hard and bring you back, I’m going to give them a chance to finish it off.”
Throw in the fact that Anthony was 5-for-7 in the first quarter and 0-for-6 in the second and third quarters combined — he was 11-for-12 from the foul line and finished with 22 points — and it was hard to second-guess the coach on this one.