NEW YORK -- Almost everyone seems to play well in Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system. Jeremy Lin singed a three-year, $25 million contract after playing a handful of games under D’Antoni. Steve Nash became a superstar while playing for D'Antoni
Even Kendall Marshall is putting up decent numbers for D’Antoni with the Lakers.
So D’Antoni admitted Sunday that it was a bit confounding that he couldn’t get Carmelo Anthony to thrive in his “Fun and Gun” offense.
Before the tip-off of Sunday's Knicks-Lakers game, D’Antoni was asked if it was “shocking” that Anthony -- one of the best offensive players on the planet -- didn’t perform well in his system.
“Yeah, shocking,” he said.
Anthony and D’Antoni had a falling out when D’Antoni coached the Knicks. When D’Antoni “stepped down” in March 2012, it was widely reported that the poor relationship between the two contributed to D’Antoni’s departure.
D’Antoni didn’t want to elaborate Sunday on why it didn’t work with Anthony in New York. “I’ll keep my mouth shut. You gave me an opportunity to keep my mouth shut, this is a good one,” he said.
He also didn’t want to address Anthony’s potential free agency.
The Knicks were 18-24 when D’Antoni stepped down and Mike Woodson took over in 2012. D’Antoni was asked about the difficulty of coaching in New York -- Woodson has dealt with public questions about his job security throughout this season.
“It’s tough, you’ve got to win,” said D’Antoni. “If you don’t, everything’s going to be questioned, it should be. But that’s the nature of the game and Woody does a great job. Whether things click or don’t click sometimes it’s out of your control. You’ll need a little luck. But they’ll keep battling. There’s so much basketball left and it’s way, way early. He’ll continue to do what he does and it has worked so there’s no reason why it won’t work again.”
Motivated by Ali: Woodson explained the reasoning behind showing his players a video of an inspirational speech by Muhammad Ali before Friday’s game against the Bobcats.
“The thinking was we’re on a skid, five-game losing streak. We’re trying to lift the players’ morale a little bit,” Woodson said. “It worked. I thought our guys came out, responded well.”
They certainly did. Anthony had a Garden- and Knicks-record 62 points in a 29-point win.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.