In about 24 hours, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will enter the Staples Center arena hoping to feast on the Lakers’ defense like a Christmas Day dinner.
How do the Lakers stop the NBA’s second-leading scorer from getting seconds, thirds and then dessert? Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has hinted in recent days that Lakers forward Metta World Peace will resume coming off the bench and only start when he needs to cover an elite defender. But D’Antoni provided about as much clarity on that thought process as a parent explaining a young child if Santa Claus is real.
“I don’t need to tell you guys,” D’Antoni said with a smile. “We’ll figure it out tomorrow.”
Whatever the case, the Lakers will need a much better outing than when they lost to New York, 116-107 Dec. 13 at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony poured 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting in just 23 minutes. He hit three consecutive three-pointers in the first ten minutes. Anthony bulldozed Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard for a two-handed dunk. Anthony made pull-up jumpers and baseline heaves off the catch. Add it all up and Anthony scored 22 first-quarter points. He only slowed down after spraining his ankle early in the third quarter.
He opened the game with 22 first-quarter points. Anthony hit three consecutive three-pointers in the first two minutes. He bulldozed past Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard into the lane for a two-handed dunk.
“Getting him hurt probably helped,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t know how you can contain him. If you watch the tape again, a lot of it was him pulling up and doing what he does. If he makes it, you live with it.”
World Peace thrives on defending the top player. But he strongly downplayed whether it’s important he starts in hopes to slow down the Knicks’ superstar.
“I don’t need to,” World Peace said. “We just need to stick with what we have. We have a whole team. We need to change with anything, whether it’s LeBron, Melo or Durant. This is how we start and this is how we stick with it.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter.