This win for the Knicks ended an embarrassing 5 game losing streak, which had many questioning whether the Knicks should trade Carmelo. In this 5 game skid, the Knicks were shooting 40.5% from the field and were averaging a devastating 13.6 turnovers per game.
However, all that changed last night, mainly due to a step up in Carmelo Anthony’s performance. There was never any doubt that he was the best player and the backbone of the team, but last night he practically was the team. Anthony didn’t turn the ball over once and shot 65.7% from the field, not to mention a perfect 10-10 from the foul line. Anthony set both records for most points scored in Madison Square Garden and most points scored without turning the ball over (since turnovers were first officially recorded).
From the start of the game it was obvious Melo was in the zone last night. After scoring 20 points and shooting 8-10 in the first quarter, Anthony followed up with an almost just as impressive second quarter. With time winding down and Carmelo having already scored 14 points in the period, Anthony chucked up a half-court shot as time expired- perfect swish. “When I made the shot at the half, I told myself the zone was there,” Anthony said.
Carmelo Anthony’s performance motivated the rest of the team, who for the first time in a while seemed ecstatic and energetic.
Just to see everybody smiling once again, that’s what I was more excited to see… Guys on the bench smiling, high-fiving, having fun once again, that’s the only thing I care about.”
Despite this incredible performance, Carmelo Anthony trade talks are still active throughout the NBA community. While watching NBA Coast to Coast on ESPN2 last night, I saw a whole segment after the Knicks game about which team would make the most sense for Carmelo Anthony to be traded to (Phoenix Suns). The point is, until the Knicks can show that they can build a team around Carmelo Anthony and make a successful playoff run the skeptics are still going to be criticizing.
The Knicks are currently tied with Cleveland for the 10th best record in the Eastern Conference; 2 games behind the 8th place Bobcats. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks will have an uphill battle to make the playoffs, as the Bobcats, Pistons, Cavaliers, Celtics, 76ers, and Knicks are all within 4 games of each other for the last playoff spot in the Easter Conference.
Carmelo Anthony can only do so much, and the rest of the team is going to have to step it up. Anthony is not going to score 62 points every night, and if players like Tyson Chandler (7.7 PPG), Raymond Felton (10.7 PPG), and Iman Shumpert (7.3 PPG) don’t step it up, then the Knicks can say goodbye to the playoffs and also to Carmelo Anthony.