This season is looking more and more like the last if not worse. Carmelo Anthony is playing like the superstar he is, but he’s on a terrible New York Knicks team, once again losing narrowly, this time 100-102 to the Utah Jazz, enjoying their second buzzer beater of the season, this time with Trey Burke getting to be the hero.
Anthony scored 46 points on 16-of-26 from the field and 13-of-16 from the line but the Knicks lost their seventh game in a row. The ball stands around (finishing with only 15 assists) and it’s pretty much Anthony against five players at times. Against the Utah Jazz and other so-so teams it might be enough to make a game close, but there has to be more than one player on the Knicks having an above average game.
An interesting stat about Anthony’s big games and what it means for his teams. Since joining the league, he has had 13 games of 45 points or more. His teams have won only 46.1% of those games. LeBron James for example has had 19 games like that, with his team walking away as the winner on 73.7% of the time, better than the win/loss numbers for Kevin Durant or Kobe Bryant, who leads the list with 33 games of 45 points or more over the last decade.
But back to the game – Gordon Hayward had the kind of night that showed why he got such a huge extension from the Jazz over the summer, scoring 33 points to go with six rebounds and four assists. Derrick Favors scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, enjoying quite an easy time in the Knicks’ paint, with the Jazz scoring 42 points from close range. Trey Burke scored 13 points and had nine assists, but his biggest moment came in the closing seconds of the game.
With 2.3 seconds left in the game Anthony hit a huge 3-pointer to tie the game at 100-100. The Jazz call a time out, and run a play for Burke. Well, not exactly a play. They just gave their point guard the ball and hoped he’d do something with it, with the Knicks mostly paying attention to Hayward. Burke got the ball at the top of the key, made it seem like he’s pushing to the basket and then stepped back to the corner. J.R. Smith was quick enough in his reaction, leaving Burke with an open corner shot, which he made while time expired.
So the Jazz are picking up some feel-good moments in a season that’s probably not going to end in playoffs, but that wasn’t their expectation anyway. Anthony and the Knicks are a different story. He was sold on the promise of a team getting better, but for now, he’s only seeing things. Injuries aren’t helping, with Iman Shumpert leaving the game after one minute, joining Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani on the bruised up list.
Anthony chose money over playing for a championship or at least on a team with a chance of doing well right away. He shouldn’t be surprised with the Knicks doing badly. But it wasn’t supposed to be this bad, this terrible, right off the bat. One of the best players in the NBA, and for the second straight season, he’s wasting away the prime of his career on playing for a team without any prospects.