The New York Knicks this season, more than ever, are about the ability of Carmelo Anthony to ignore how bad his teammates are going to be most of the time and blend his ability to be a facilitator with his scoring, which has been working pretty well so far, including in a 96-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
It wasn’t just leading to a win. Anthony moved himself up the scoring charts of NBA lore and history, reaching the 20,000 points mark for his career which began in 2003. He is the 40th NBA player to reach that milestone with (probably) plenty more years to improve on it. He is also the sixth youngest player in NBA history to reach that mark, making it by the age of 30 and 157 days. He needed 793 games to make it.
Anthony scored 28 points in the Knicks’ win, raising his scoring average this season to 22.3 points. He let other players worry about rebounding and feeding the ball to others and simply did what he does best, which is score, not finding the defensive attempts to slow him down, especially after Michael Kidd-Gilchrist left the game with an injury following a bad tumble, very impressive, successful or limiting at all.
The Knicks defense stepped up in the final minutes, forcing three turnovers during the final 2:23 of the game, holding the Hornets to just 13 points. Like every other coach in the NBA, Derek Fisher was especially pleased about how well his team played defense. There was also offense to be pleased about, like Amare Stoudemire scoring 17 points, Iman Shumpert having a good shooting day with 15 and the team in general shooting 50% from the field and beyond the arc.
Unlike last season, there isn’t a sense of everything being done and doomed for the New York Knicks. Obviously, those dreaming of contending for anything or being a major force, even in the Eastern conference, are slightly delusional or simply unable to read every possible sign along the way. But playoffs? A 2-1 start doesn’t say anything, and yet there’s a sense that these Knicks, maybe built around Carmelo Anthony more than ever before, have a pretty good shot without injuries getting in the way.