Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Battier, Smart

Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony‘s willingness to reduce his role in the offense shows that he trusts in his teammates to execute, which is a major step forward from the Melo of last season, Ian Begley of relays. “I probably wouldn’t have been at ease because I was the guy who always had to go out there and score 30, score 40 points to even have a chance to win the basketball game,” Anthony said of his willingness to shoot less. “Now, with the makeup of this team, I don’t really have to do that. I feel a lot more comfortable now with … letting somebody else have a breakout game and letting other guys get involved [to] get their confidence up. I feel more comfortable with that now.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Retired forward Shane Battier met with members of the Sixers today, Derek Bodner of relays (via Twitter). Battier has a relationship with GM Sam Hinkie that goes back to their time spent together in Houston, and all indications are that the team was merely meeting with him to pick his brain, not to discuss a potential contract, Bodner adds.
  • Despite their offseason focus on improving defensively, the Raptors are struggling on that end of the court, and the issue goes beyond the loss of DeMarre Carroll to injury, Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun writes. “We’ve got guys that have been here with us, that should know the defensive schemes, that do know the defensive schemes,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We’re trying to get guys back in, [but] health and injuries are part of this league,” he continued. “All those are excuses. Next man up, everybody wants an opportunity, that’s what it’s all about. One guy goes down, the next guy has to take up the slack.”
  • Celtics point guard Marcus Smart is rounding back into form after missing time with a leg injury, and his recent play has sparked the team on the defensive end, A. Sherrod Blakely of writes.
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