Two things became very apparent during the Knicks’ hard fought 99-89 loss to the Miami Heat on Friday night.
First off, the Knicks moved the ball better and had significantly better flow in their offense due to the absence of Carmelo Anthony.
However, it was also proved that the Knicks cannot win a close game without Carmelo Anthony.
Seems contradictory, does it not?
Well, the Knicks played solid basketball for three quarters; they led for a good portion of an absolute see-saw battle of a game, while moving the ball very well and getting open shots, as D’antoni teams are supposed to do. When they needed someone to step up late, though, there was nobody to turn to.
Amar’e Stoudemire? He is far from a closer, and his struggles this year have been immense, playing the worst basketball of his career. Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert, and Bill Walker are all inconsistent and unreliable, as good of role players as they can be at times.
It seemed as if the Knicks were about ready to plead Carmelo to put a uniform on and come save them—nobody could knock down the big shots in the fourth quarter, while LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Heat combined for 19 of the team’s 25 points in the final quarter.
Although he can be a cancer to this team and D’antoni’s offensive system at times, Anthony is unquestionably one of the league’s most clutch players and best closers.
Some fans have been quick to overreact, myself included, and suggest that the Knicks deal Carmelo Anthony, but that is clearly not the answer. Melo has been severely banged up this year, and it has resulted in the lowest shooting percentage of his career.
As previously touched on, Carmelo doesn’t mesh well with coach Mike D’antoni’s system, and I am not sure if the two will ever make a good fit; D’antoni is all about movement, but Carmelo likes to stop the ball and play isolation basketball. Doesn’t work in this offensive system, sorry, it just doesn’t. Perhaps Baron Davis can fix the problem; giving Anthony a true point guard to work with is much needed, but only time will tell.
Things will still likely need to change in New York even after the return of Baron Davis, and while dealing Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler for Dwight Howard could be the solution, trading away Carmelo Anthony is not.
Could the solution be firing head coach Mike D’antoni? It’s very possible. When the Knicks get down, they panic and play a very undisciplined style of basketball, while jacking up three pointers every chance they get.
Now, shooting threes isn’t always a bad thing. However, when you do not have any good three point shooters, as is the case with the Knicks, it should not be the main option. In my opinion, this falls on the shoulders of the head coach.
Whatever changes may or may not occur, Carmelo is the one guy that the Knicks absolutely need to make sure stays a part of the organization.
Even if the Knicks were to end up with a team consisting of Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, and Amar’e Stoudemire along with any coach, D’antoni or not, how good would they really be? Come playoff time, who would be the guy they could turn to late in the fourth quarter?
Carmelo Anthony is that guy, and the Knicks need him to succeed.
About the Author
Written by Michael Burke
I'm Mike. I'm 16 and love sports. I'm a Knicks, Yankees, Colts and Notre Dame die-hard. My dream is to cover the Knicks professionally, so I hope that PSB can help me reach that goal. Follow me on twitter: @michaelburke47