It’s nice for his individual stats and for his position in the scoring title race. For the New York Knicks, leaning only on Carmelo Anthony to score their points isn’t how it should be done.
The New York Knicks’ success this season (23-10) is based on their ability to defend and spread the ball, getting big contribution from their three point shooters. That ability is hurt when Raymond Felton isn’t on the floor, making it a much more Carmelo-centric type of basketball. On defense, adding Marcus Camby to the lineup is helpful only against certain kinds of teams.
Against the sloppy Orlando Magic, losing 106-114 to their eighth consecutive defeat, it was simply about Anthony doing everything but actually managing to play the point forward role quite well. He took 29 shots, finished with 40 points and still dished out 6 assists. Jason Kidd finished with 15 points, hitting five three pointers. Steve Novak added two more tres from the bench.
On offense, things worked well, despite the predictability. The Knicks have a very nice set of screens they have working well for them and Jason Kidd may have lost a lot of things over the years, but he is still an excellent passer and can stretch the floor with his vision and his shooting, as long as he doesn’t have to move around too much.
Tyson Candler had his hands full with Nikola Vucevic, the current rebounding machine of the NBA (19.7 over his last three games), as the young center finished with 18 boards. Chandler himself had a very good day with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
We were down coming into the fourth, and we held them to 17 points. That’s the sign of a team that didn’t want to lose. We picked it up defensively and did what they had to do, and offensively they made plays.
The Knicks defense showed up in the final 12 minutes. The Magic started playing easier-to-predict basketball, and their lack of depth, not to mention the injury to Glen Davis, put them in an inferior position going into the final minutes. The Knicks have the privilege of throwing Amare Stoudemire into the game off the bench, finishing with 11 points in 16 minutes, and someone like J.R. Smith, who had a decent shooting day with 8-18, scoring 18 points in 31 minutes.
For Anthony, it was a special game and a special fourth quarter. Sometimes people forget about Carmelo when discussing the clutch issues of certain superstars in the NBA. Few players find it easy to score as Anthony does in the final minutes of game. He had 16 points in the final quarter, leading the team to a 33-17 fourth. He’s now averaging 29.3 points per game this season (a career best for him) and has scored at least 40 points in a game three times, twice in the last three.
Having a guy like this is better than not having a go-to-player at all, but Mike Woodson knows the Knicks are better off focusing on getting stops first instead of relying on the offensive abilities of Carmelo Anthony to get them through the postseason, because it won’t be enough.