Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Jeremy Lin said Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith can take some pressure off him by increasing the New York Knicks’ scoring options.
Lin scored 17 points in a 99-82 win against the Atlanta Hawks last night at New York’s Madison Square Garden as the Knicks ended a five-game homestand with a 3-2 record.
“We have a lot of offensive weapons now,” Lin said, referring to Anthony and Smith. “I don’t need to shoot as much with these guys coming back. We’re going to move the ball and make the defenses pay.”
In their last game before a five-day break for the All-Star Game, the Knicks tonight face the Miami Heat (26-7), who are tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the National Basketball Association’s best record.
With the help of Anthony, Lin said he’s ready to meet Miami’s trio of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
“Melo definitely has given me a ton of advice; he has definitely taken me under his wing,” Lin said. “We’re going to need Melo to be a playmaker and a scorer” in Miami.
Anthony had 15 points in his second game back after missing seven with a groin strain. Steve Novak scored 17 and Landry Fields added 16.
Smith, who was playing for Zhejiang in China before signing with New York as a free agent Feb. 17, scored 12 points while Amar’e Stoudemire had seven points and 10 rebounds.
The Knicks (17-17) are three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers in second place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.
Lin said he’s received no special coaching from Mike D’Antoni for the meeting with James.
“He’ll find out himself; he might as well experience it,” the coach said. “He’s making the right plays, smart. He’s savvy. He’s just a good point guard.”
The Knicks led 60-35 at the half and increased their lead to 30 points early in the third period before the Hawks outscored them 26-21 in the final quarter.
“Our defense was good, then we got sloppy,” D’Antoni told reporters. “We still have a lot of guys out of sync. We’re scratching out wins.”
Jeff Teague had 18 points and Willie Green scored 16 for the Hawks (19-14) who are third in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division, seven games behind the Heat, after losing eight of 11 games.
“It’s tough to guard him,” Teague said of Lin. “They play a thousand pick and rolls. It’s always going to be tough coming off a pick and roll.”
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