There will be no MVP awards for Carmelo Anthony, just some accolades like “best pure scorer in the NBA”, which actually means you don’t do a lot too well except for putting the ball in the basket, but at least he’s justifying the amount of shots he is been taking this season with these last couple of extraordinary games, making it 10 wins in a row for the New York Knicks.
For the second straight game, Anthony was in the zone as much as humanly possible, finishing with 40 points and 17-27 from the field, making it 90 points on back-to-back night, hitting an uncharacteristic 66% from the field, as the Knicks used their excellent four quarter defense once again to overcome the Atlanta Hawks 95-82.
The special thing about Anthony’s recent streak is that he’s not taking the easiest of shots. He keeps going for long-range jumpers, open or not. He simply can’t miss them for some reason. 64 Of his 90 points over the last two games on shots at least 15 feet from the basket, while shooting 65.1%. Anthony was averaging nearly 12 points per game from at least 15 feet prior to Tuesday’s game with the Heat, second-most in the league. He has nearly tripled that production the last two nights.
The most interesting fact about the Knicks’ winning streak, giving them 0.5 games of an advantage over the Indiana Pacers? The last two seasons in which they got to win at least 8 games in a row by at least 5 points, they also reached the NBA Finals – their trip to the Finals in 1994 and their first NBA title in 1970.
Beyond Anthony, J.R. Smith is continuing his excellent form off the bench, with a much better shot selection than earlier in the season, making over 50% of his shots while not really forcing things from the outside, finishing with 19 points. Smith is averaging 23.3 points per game during the winning streak while making 50.3% of his field goal attempts, compared with 41.5% all through the season.
There’s a lot of selfish basketball on offense with the Knicks, suiting Anthony and J.R. Smith just fine. As long as Mike Woodson is pleased with their defense, and Anthony keeps burying the deep-ball as well as he has over the last few games, we’re not going to hear any sort of complaining from the head coach.