Carmelo Anthony returns to Knicks lineup Monday vs. Nets

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If you’re going to ease Carmelo Anthony back into the new-look Knicks, this is the best way to do it — against the worst defense in the league.

Carmelo Anthony will be back with the Knicks in the starting lineup Monday against the Nets, the team announced. He will start (Iman Shumpert will come off the bench), and also expect Baron Davis to get some run at the point guard spot in this game.

The Knicks went 6-1 without Carmelo in the lineup (really 7-1 because he only played five minutes in a win over the Jazz). That is where Jeremy Lin has taken over, leading to the questions from some on how Anthony could fit in with a strong point guard. As if he didn’t do that with guys like Chauncey Billups, Ty Lawson and others in Denver all those years.

The emergence of Lin means Anthony no longer has to play the point-forward position, which should free him up to make more plays off the ball and exploit mismatches that come his way rather than have to get others involved.

Basically, ‘Melo likes to score and now he can focus on that.

The Nets should provide an easier way for ‘Melo to start, with the more serious challenges of the Hawks and Heat looming on the schedule before the All-Star break begins.