Melo returns, leads Knicks past Pistons

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony returned from a two-game injury absence to score 25 points as the New York Knicks secured a convincing 113-86 NBA victory over Detroit.

Anthony, who had been sidelined by a sprained right ankle as well as injuries to his left wrist and right thumb, appeared energized after five days of rest.

He enjoyed his best shooting night of the lockout-shortened season, making nine-of-14 shots from the field to score the most points on the court.

The win saw the Knicks halt a three-game losing streak and notch their highest shooting percentage from the field this season with a 60 percent success rate.

Anthony admitted that the Knicks’ recent struggles had prompted him to come back as quickly as he could, despite the painful ankle injury.

“If we were winning, I would try to take my time, but right now, I want to try to push it and see what we can do,” Anthony said.

“I think these four, five days I had off helped me out a lot. My thumb, my wrist calmed down. My ankle is worse than I thought it was and playing for that week on it didn’t help at all.”

Anthony’s return, and the win over the struggling Pistons took some of the heat off New York coach Mike D’Antoni, who admitted that his team’s troubles this season were disappointing.

“We had higher expectations this year, so obviously, the letdown is greater this year,” D’Antoni said. “It’s tough. Things we got to get through, we’ll work through it… Still time. Guys are still buying in. I cannot ask any more from them.”

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