By RALPH D. RUSSO, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony rejoined the Knicks' starting lineup Monday night and was part of the Linsanity for the first time since it began sweeping New York.
Anthony missed the previous seven games with a groin injury. The All-Star forward was greeted by a huge ovation at Madison Square Garden during introductions for New York's game against the New Jersey Nets, then scored the Knicks' second basket.
Baron Davis also made his season and Knicks debut against the Nets, wearing No. 85.
Anthony hadn't played since Feb. 6, the first game Jeremy Lin became a starter with the Knicks. Anthony played six minutes against Utah, but Lin scored 28 points and the Knicks won their second of what turned out to be seven straight victories.
Anthony came in averaging 22 points per game, but while Knicks fans have been swooning over their new point guard, they also have been fretting about how Anthony and Lin will mix.
"He was pretty good without him so I imagine he'll be pretty good with him," D'Antoni said of Anthony before the game. "Everybody will benefit from a good point guard."
Lin's emergence as the point guard the Knicks have been searching for has been a boon to the pick-and-roll offense. But that's not Anthony's game.
"We'll run our offense," D'Antoni said before the game. "Jeremy's going to run the pick-and-roll. Melo will get the ball and do his thing. We'll see if it's balanced. If it's not we'll have to balance it and all that."
D'Antoni figures Anthony and Lin will need some time to figure out what works best for each other.
"Any player wants a point guard that gets him easy shots and Jeremy can do that," the coach said.
Davis has been recovering from a herniated disk in his back and an infection in his elbow, which delayed his Knicks debut. New York signed him to eventually be its starting point guard, but Lin changed those plans.
The 32-year-old former All-Star will be a much-needed backup to Lin, who has played at least 36 minutes in eight of the nine games in which he has had a major role, topping 40 minutes four times. D'Antoni said Davis also could slide over to shooting guard and play with Lin.
Either way, he's a role player on the Knicks for now.
"He can see what's happening, too," D'Antoni said of Davis. "Right now Jeremy is the starter. Nothing is ever set in stone but ... Jeremy's playing pretty good right now."
With 2:11 left in the first quarter, Davis checked in for Lin to a smattering of applause.
In Davis' first possession with the Knicks, he never gave up the ball. His 3-pointer from the right wing off the dribble rattled in and out.
Davis almost had his first assist with the Knicks, feeding Steve Novak in the corner for a 3 at the first-quarter buzzer. Problem was Davis took a little too much time to get the ball to Novak and the basket was waved off after a video review because the shot left the shooter's hand a blink too late.
Iman Shumpert was out Monday night because of a sore left knee. D'Antoni said the rookie guard is day to day.
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