Carmelo Anthony after nailing the game-winning three vs the Bulls.
Photo ©New York Daily News
When the Knicks lost Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire to injuries. The entire Knicks went through the shoulders and hands of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony who was brought to New York in the mid-season of last year has been from the Denver Nuggets via trade has been dealing with a lot of criticism since he donned a Knicks jersey. Where in the previous year, the Knicks finished with a poor record than the Nuggets after the trade, and were swept out of the first round by the Boston Celtics where as the Denver Nuggets were able to last one more game than the Knicks in the playoffs before losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games. The fans and the media started to question Anthony’s skills and talents.
This season though, the Knicks had been through an up-and-down season. When the Knicks went through the struggle during the start of the season, to the emergence of undrafted stud Jeremy Lin which sparked “Linsanity” across the world, to the firing of former coach Mike D’Antoni which put Mike Woodson back as an head coach. Right now, the Knicks are holding on the 8th seed in the East with the Milwaukee Bucks led by the explosive backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis right on their heels.
Melo wasn’t there during the height of “Linsanity” as he was dealing with injuries all season long. Now that he is back on the floor playing and with Jeremy Lin out for the rest of the regular season, and Amar’e not playing also to injuries. Carmelo has to lead the Knicks to glory.
Their game today put them against the best team in the NBA today the Chicago Bulls who also got a needed boost with the return of the reining MVP Derrick Rose who missed games with a groin injury. It was a tightly contested game between these two Eastern powerhouses and the game went into overtime. But in the end, Carmelo Anthony proved once again that he is one of the best clutch players in the NBA today. He nailed a clutch three pointer with 8.5 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Knicks a 100-99 lead. As the Knicks pulled of a big win against the best team in the NBA all-season long. Anthony finished with a season high 43 points, with 7 rebounds.
Anthony just added another game winner to a line of clutch shots he had made throughout his NBA career which took off at the same time with the likes of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and the rest of the ever famous 2003 NBA draft class. Carmelo has once again solidified his name as one of the greatest clutch players the game has ever seen.
Though he has yet to reach the NBA Finals unlike the Miami trio of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh (Wade won the title with the Heat in 2006), Melo almost got to the NBA Finals with the Denver Nuggets before they bowed out to the Los Angeles Lakers in 6 games of the Western Conference Finals in 2009. Anthony is capable of bringing the Knicks back to the promised land, and if the Knicks get a deep playoff run this year, Carmelo can be joined with Jeremy Lin thus adding more depth to a already deep roster that the Knicks have on their disposal with players surrounding the team like Tyson Chandler, Landry Fields, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Iman Shumpert, Baron Davis and a host of other players. Also with Amar’e Stoudemire’s return in question. Carmelo will have to be the heart and soul of the Knicks as they try to end the regular season strong.
The question though remains, Can the Knicks make a deep playoff push especially this team is not as strong defensively as they are offensively? Well, it’s up to the Knicks themselves if they can be “giant-killers” when the playoffs come, as in the NBA anything can happen. Like last year’s upsets when the 8th seeded Grizzlies knocked off the top-seeded Spurs in the 1st round before sending the Thunder to 7 games before bowing out. The Mavericks stunning sweep of the then defending champion Lakers in the 2nd round. The Heat’s stunning East Finals victory over the Bulls in 5 games, and of course the Mavericks stunning victory over the Heat in the Finals in 6 games.
“It was a great atmosphere. That’s how the Garden’s supposed to be. This was a playoff game. We might play these guys in the playoffs if we keep doing what we’re doing and get that seed. So this is a big statement game for us and we willed this win today.” – Carmelo Anthony, on the Knicks victory against the Bulls