Everybody seems to be getting caught up in the hoopla surrounding New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin -- and that includes the team's seemingly forgotten superstar Carmelo Anthony, who has missed the last five games with a strained right groin.
"I love it -- I'm a part of it," Anthony told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith when asked about the so-called Lin-sanity sweeping the nation.
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"Everybody's been looking for this. Everybody's been looking to see who's going to be New York's starting point guard. Jeremy Lin got the opportunity and he's taking advantage of it."
The Knicks have won seven straight games since Lin took a prominent role on the team, with Anthony's injury occurring early in the second game of that stretch. In the one game they shared significant floor time -- a 99-92 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4 -- Lin scored 25 points to Anthony's 11.
Anthony said he takes offense when people suggest he might be too "selfish" of a player to coexist on the floor with Lin.
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"That's like a slap in the face," Anthony said. "I've never been a selfish player. None of my teammates I've ever played with would say that I was a selfish player. Nobody."
He added of Lin: "Right now he's playing out of his mind, completely out of his mind. He's unbelievable right now. When I come back I think I can take some of that pressure off of him to have to go out there and do it on a consistent basis."
Lin, who was seen laughing with Anthony on the bench during the Knicks' 100-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, said he's looking forward to his teammate's return, which could come as soon as Friday against the New Orleans Hornets.
“We were just having fun and kind of talking about how we're both excited for when he comes back,” Lin said.
One of the defining moments of Lin's young career came Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors, when he hit the game-winning three-point shot with half a second left. What if such a situation arises again with Anthony on the floor? Well, the veteran player admitted, he might have a little selfishness in him after all.
"Of course I want to take the last shot," Anthony said. "I mean, let's be quite frank: I've been doing it for nine years already, and I've made a ton of them."
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-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Carmelo Anthony, left, Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire share a laugh during the New York Knicks game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Credit: Frank Franklin II / Associated Press