The New York Knicks continue to look like a team that’s going nowhere, including losing their best player very soon. Carmelo Anthony had another huge game which wasn’t enough because the Dallas Mavericks were just as good as a team offensively, and got Dirk Nowitzki, like in the good ol’ days, to provide the finishing touch with a lucky buzzer beating game winning shot.
The Knicks had the chance to take the lead on the previous possession, but excellent defense from Vince Carter on Carmelo Anthony and then Monta Ellis on J.R. Smith led to a bad shot, and the Mavs getting the final ball at 108-108. Dirk Nowitzki got the ball at the top of the key with Carmelo Anthony guarding him. Why Anthony? Who knows. Nowitzki wasn’t looking to pass, he was just waiting for the clock to run down. No help coming, no switch on defense. Anthony didn’t really put up much of a fight as Nowitzki took the shot which bounced on the rim before landing back in the net, giving the Mavs a 110-108 win.
Probably the ugliest shot I ever made. Basically it hit the board, every part of the rim, hit Jerry West over there (the logo on the backboard), came back over and it was definitely an ugly, ugly shot. I didn’t even feel like celebrating it was so ugly.
With the win, the 35-23 Mavs moved up to 7th in the Western conference, 0.5 a game ahead of the Suns at 8th and maybe more importantly, 2.5 games ahead of the Grizzlies who are outside of the playoff picture at the moment. The Knicks? At 21-36, they’re 11th in the East, six games behind the 8th and final spot into the playoffs.
Anthony scored 44 points on 14-of-29 from the field, while the rest of the Knicks’ starters took only 19 shots. He hit 7-of-12 from beyond the arc and grabbed 9 rebounds, but the Knicks were once again too one dimensional and too slow in their offense when it came to the money time, allowing the Mavs, not the greatest defensive team in the world, to find a way and stop their predictable offense.
It was a night of hot hands on the other side too. Vince Carter came off the bench to score 23 points on 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Jose Calderon was also feeling in the zone with 20 points and 5-of-8 from three. Dirk Nowitzki was quite cold, finishing with 15 points and missing most of his shots leading up to the game winner. But like Rick Carlisle said at the end – great players are about the big plays, and are probably happier with making big shots after rough nights than having great games.
The story here is the Knicks, despite all the celebrations on the Mavs side. A 50-win, championship contender last season, and one of the worst teams in the league this year, with a roster and salary cap situation that doesn’t bode well for the future. Carmelo Anthony, arguably someone who might be able to still make something out of this season without too much help, has less and less reasons to stay with every loss that he endures.