EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- No one has baffled the Brooklyn Nets more than New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony is averaging 37 points and seven rebounds in three games against the Nets. He's shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point range versus Brooklyn. He's also taking 6.7 3-pointers and 10 free throws per game.
Asked how the Nets can contain Anthony, interim coach P.J. Carlesimo joked, "Not very well."
But seriously, what can they do better?
"We've gotta locate him," Carlesimo said. "Minimize his 3-point attempts. Minimize his free throws to start. And just get good help, because no one individual is gonna be able to lock him up. You can make him work.
"There's nights when Melo's really got it going and he's gonna get his points. You just gotta try to make him work. He's the focus of every team when you get ready to play the Knicks. He's the No. 1 focus. He's played very, very well against us."
The reason the Knicks (25-13) have been so effective on offense is because of Melo, their floor spacing and their 3-point shooting. New York leads the NBA in both 3-pointers attempted and 3-pointers made. They also shoot 38.7 percent from downtown, which is tied for third in the league.
"They're tough to defend, and give (Melo) credit, because he's willing to distribute the ball," Carlesimo said. "When you double him, trap him in a pick-and-roll or double him in an iso, he's willing to share the ball. Late in the game, he's gonna take the shot because that's what he gets paid to do."
Anthony, 28, currently ranks third in the NBA in scoring (29.2 ppg) and is having an MVP-caliber season.
"I think he's playing as well this year as he has in any year since he’s been in the league," Carlesimo said. "That's a pretty strong statement, because he's had some pretty good years in Denver and in New York. He's playing at an extremely high level."