GREENBURGH, N.Y. — One day after Carmelo Anthony revealed he had been fasting for the past 15 days, his diet was a hot topic among his teammates and his head coach.
“I just got wind of it, but Melo’s playing great,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said following practice Monday as the team embarked on its trip to London for Thursday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
“I’m not concerned about what Melo eats as long as he is ready to play. He is going to eat the right foods and do all the necessary things to be ready to play basketball. I got that much faith in him.”
As noted by the CBS Eye on Basketball Blog, in the 24 games before his fast, Anthony scored 28.5 points per game on 47.3 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from the 3-point line.
During his fast, Anthony’s scoring went up to 32.3 points per game, but his field goal percentage has dropped to 42.3 percent and his 3-point percentage is down to 38.9.
His scoring went up, but the five percent drop in his shooting accuracy and slow starts in games since his return from a knee injury have been troubling for a Knicks team that relies on his offense every night.
Steve Novak said that some of the players in the locker room were aware of Melo’s fast, but were surprised by how the story had taken on a life of its own.
“I left the house today and I was on Yahoo!, and I saw that it was one of the trending things worldwide,” Novak said. “If he can keep scoring 30 or 40 points a night, he can fast all he wants.”
With the fast over till next season, the Knicks will hope that Anthony’s spirit and health are ready for the stretch run as they look to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Of course at the end of the day, Woodson is just happy to have Melo on the Knicks, no matter the diet.
“I’d take Melo fasting or not fasting,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.