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But Lin isn't getting caught up in the hype.
"I think for us, we want to make sure what we're thinking about is we want to build momentum going into the All-Star break and we want to make a push after the All-Star break. And I think this is a good opportunity to build momentum," he said.
"It's a big game, don't get me wrong. We're playing a great team, and it's going to be a good evaluation of where we're at. So from that end obviously we're excited and ready for the challenge. But besides that, we're just going try to stay consistent."
The game against Atlanta came on the one-year anniversary of the Knicks' acquisition of Anthony from Denver in a blockbuster trade that cost them four of their top six players. The results have been underwhelming -- 14-14 last season and 17-17 this season, and D'Antoni acknowledged the high price the Knicks paid for the All-Star forward "depleted a lot of things."
However, he said they've built their depth back, and the potential was obvious in the first half, when all nine players who played scored.
New additions Baron Davis and J.R. Smith could be an explosive second-team backcourt, and teamed up on a pretty alley-oop that Smith dropped in with his back to the hoop. Steve Novak is the 3-point specialist needed to space the floor so Lin and Anthony have room to drive into the lane.
"The things are developing and we'll get our guys, everybody up to par, and if that happens then we should be fairly good," D'Antoni said.
Novak made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. Landry Fields had 16, and Smith finished with 12. Davis had six assists in 14 minutes.
NOTES: Drew was disappointed that Josh Smith was passed over in favor of Boston's Rajon Rondo when Commissioner David Stern chose the injury replacement for Johnson. Smith averages 16 points and 9.6 rebounds, is top 15 in the league in blocks, rebounds and steals, and was already considered perhaps the biggest snub when reserves were chosen. "I really thought that he would get the invite once word was that Joe wouldn't be able to play," Drew said. "I mean, you look at Josh's numbers, he has good numbers. His numbers are good enough to be where he should be an All-Star. Why he didn't make it, I don't know." ... Knicks assistant Mike Woodson was the Hawks' head coach from 2004-10. ... Lansdowne Road, an Irish pub in the Hell's Kitchen section of New York, announced it was changing its name to LINsdowne Road
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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