Browsing Posts tagged Carmelo Anthony

Just a few days ago, the Big Apple’s two basketball franchises faced each other, with the Nets defeating the Knicks 103-80. It was a case of sweet revenge for the Knicks, who has lost badly in the first cross-town rivalry in December.

However, apart from local bragging rights, little attention was paid to the two results. Both teams are sub .500 and the Knicks, in particular, are off the pace when it comes to looking at the post-season. Few people who bet on NBA would argue that this rivalry is one for the ages; the contest needs some spice added to make it worth fans’ time.

Well, first off, it would help if both teams were better. They may share a division and a city but the game itself is not going to draw more interest until both teams are playing better basketball.

Big-name players are always going to be a draw in any NBA rivalry, and the Knicks have one of those in Carmelo Anthony, but is less clear who his counterpart would be within the Nets organisation. Yes, they have both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce but both of those are too far beyond their prime to be considered a direct match for Anthony. The Nets need to find a marquee player to really make that head-to-head work and prove a talking point between the two teams.

What would spark a real contest and rivalry between the two teams would be a playoff series – regular season games are fine but there is nothing to spark the fans’ interest like a seven-game competitive post-season series. These two last met back in 2004 and, since then, the two teams have had problems, with none of them making the post-season let alone both of them. However, in the future, a real post-season head-to-head should spark major interest in New York and fuel the rivalry.

Last, but not least, wouldn’t it be fun to see the two franchises going toe-to-toe over a big name signing? Further spice can be added to that confrontation if the player they are fighting over plays (or has played) for one of the franchises previously. In the present, we might have to wait a couple of seasons before we have such a situation. As things stand, both franchises are focused on slashing their payrolls, not poaching the other team’s overpriced players. Fans may have to wait until the following summer of 2015 for a major bidding war between the teams.

This Knicks-Nets match-up has the potential to be a great rivalry; sometimes, it just takes a spark to ignite such competition. It may take a few years, but fans of NBA betting know that any one of the above sparks could well light a fire that could rage for years. 

The 8-18 New York Knicks are in serious trouble. Just one season after winning 54 games, the Knicks are devoid of any championship talk or aspirations. On the surface, it’s just a matter of time before owner James Dolan axes  head coach, Mike Woodson and replaces him with assistant coach, Herb Williams. However, such a move would essentially end the Knicks’ season and may push impending free agent, Carmelo Anthony out the door. In addition, the lack of suitable replacements on the open market make axing Woodson a premature move. The Knicks could turn to ex-Knicks Larry Johnson or Allan Houston to take Woodson’s spot on the bench, but neither guy has skill or experience to take over the team. 

While it’s easy to blame a coach for a team’s slow start, Carmelo Anthony and co. can’t deflect all of the blame. Melo is averaging 26.4 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game, but his poor showing percentage (44.3%) and low assist total (2.9 APG) aren’t getting it done. JR Smith is starting to play better, but Woodson did not have Smith’s services for the first five games of the season. Add in Tyson Chandler’s 20-game departure due to a broken leg and the injuries sustained by Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton have rendered the Knicks without a point guard. Still, if the Knicks continue to lose games, Woodson won’t be around to see all of his guys return. 

More times than not, coaches are saddled with the blame for failing to meet expectations. They receive credit and failure based on their team’s performance. Under certain circumstances, the coach should be given a chance to turn things around. Woodson, winner of 54 games last season, should coach the Knicks for the entire season. Axing Woodson now will just lead to turmoil during a season when the team must rebound and prove it can retain the talents of Carmelo Anthony. 

The Pacers and Knicks are set to tip-off in less than two hours. Here are three keys to the series and my prediction..

Carmelo Anthony’s Decision Making: Anthony has all of the physical tools required to be a superstar. However, his decision making let him down in Round 1. Mike Woodson’s offensive system is predicated on ball movement, finding open shooters, and drives into the paint. Anthony settled for way too many contested, long two-point shots against the Celtics, which kept Boston in the series. Anthony must use his low post game to find easy buckets and dish to open shooters when double teams collapse. The Pacers are a young, impressive defensive team that will bait Anthony into contested two points. Anthony must demonstrate patience and the willingness to give up the ball for the Knicks to advance.

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The Knicks have until Tuesday night to match Houston’s contract offer for Jeremy Lin. On Saturday night, the Knicks completed a sign-and-trade for point guard, Raymond Felton, casting doubt that the Knicks will match Houston’s offer. Currently, the Knicks have Felton and Jason Kidd under contract for next season, so point guard isn’t a dire need. However, Jeremy Lin is a poliarizing figure on and off the court. Before blowing out his knee, Lin was dynamic and helped restore New York basketball–something Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire have failed to do. Not only did Lin add wins to the Knicks record, but he added dollars to the MSG’s declining stock price. At 23-years-old and entering the prime of his career, the Knicks would look foolish if they just let Lin go.

While Houston’s three-year, $27 million contract offer from Houston represents some financial ramifications, the Knicks are in ‘win-now’ mode. Why would they just let one of the NBA’s most exciting players just walk away? If anything, James Dolan has always been emotional owner and he may be upset that Lin structed a deal that will hinder the Knicks’ long-term growth. In addition, Anthony never seemed to fully embrace Lin. Perhaps, Anthony has gotten into Dolan’s ear and has told him that the Knicks should move on without him. Ego can cloud one’s decision making, but can it happen with a young, budding point guard only tapping into his potential? Letting Lin go would be a decision that the Knicks will regret for the next decade.

On Friday, Todd provided an overview of the Knicks’ point guard situation. The Knicks agreed to terms with free-agent Jason Kidd and have an opportunity to match Houston’s offer sheet for Jeremy Lin. Houston offered Lin a four-year, $30 million ‘poison pill’ contract that is heavily back loaded.

On the surface, that’s a large contract for a player who has only started a handful of games, been cut by multiple teams, and has been questioned about complementing Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. With Houston’s offer on the table, Lin is in the driver’s seat and will soon become a very rich man. However, playing in New York is not an easy task and should the Knicks match the Rockets’ offer, Lin will deal with the NY scrutiny for the next four seasons. Given his recent success in New York, should Lin head for a less stressful situation and join the Rockets?

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Even though the Knicks got their first playoff win in over a decade and their NBA odds were not bad, the 2012 postseason for Knicks fans was almost as bitter as previous years. Last season, the Boston Celtics swept the Knicks in the first round, and this season, they lost in five games to the Miami Heat.

With a lot of cap space tied up, and a large mountain to climb; the Knicks are desperately in need of a full training camp and preseason to get their chemistry right. A lot of things happened this season to the Knicks, let’s take a look back, see if their regular season had anything to do with their early postseason exit.

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As the seconds ticked away on Wednesday night, the Knicks faced the realization of another first round exit and another off-season filled with many questions. With over $50 million committed to the Big 3 of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks won’t be able to do much fishing in the free agent pool. However, the Knicks most prized free agent acquisition, Jeremy Lin, remains the most important piece for next year’s team.

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Facing a daunting 3-0 task, the Knicks responded in Game 4 by beating the Heat, 89-87. Melo went off for 41-6-4 to lead the way, but his late game actions will leave a lot of Knick fans wondering. Up three points with 15 seconds to go, Shane Battier fouled Melo as he attempted a three pointer. Melo proceeded to miss the first two free throw attempts before making the third to give the Knicks a four point lead. I didn’t like his demeanor after missing the first two shots. Melo was seen laughing, joking around, shaking his head. That type of attitude will not win anywhere let alone in New York. LeBron gave Heat fans some hope, converting a three-point play seconds later to cut the Knick lead to one. Now, it was Mr. Fire Extinguisher’s time to shoot two. Amar’e made one out of two, giving the Heat ANOTHER chance to at least tie (or win) the game. Luckily for the Knicks, Wade’s three-pointer was off the mark so this series is heading back to Miami.

Look, we all know the Knicks aren’t going to beat the Heat. We all knew this before the series even started. The lack of late game execution at the free throw line opened the door for the Heat. The Knicks are only delaying the inevitable with this series and Miami will close them out in Game 5.

Mike Woodson righted the sinking ship known as the New York Knicks. Since taking over interim head coaching duties, Woodson’s Knicks are 16-6 and are playoff bound for the second straight season. However, one major obstacle stands in his way of being promoted from interim to full-time–making Carmelo and Amar’e effectively play together.

Mike D’Antoni’s ‘offensive guru’ coaching habits were ineffective as Anthony and Stoudemire failed to buy into his style of play. However, without D’Antoni, the Knicks have been buying into Woodson’s ideals on both ends. Carmelo has been on fire offensively while Woodson’s decision to run a ‘point guard by committee’ has been effective. However, the one missing factor during Woodson’s success has been Amar’e. Since Stat returned to play, the Knicks are 2-1. Stat scored 22 points and grabbed 12 boards in the team’s win over Atlanta on Sunday. 

It’s been well documented that Amar’e and Carmelo have trouble playing together offensively. Amar’e thrives in pick-and-roll situations while Carmelo is an isolation scorer who loves his space. With two contrasting styles of play, Woodson has to make this work. Ultimately, Woodson may need to swallow his pride and stick Stoudemire on the bench to start the game. Having each scorer work independently may get the other going. In crunch time situations, these two will likely be paired together, but there’s no harm in bringing them along separately to start the game. 

Alike any playoff situation, egos have to be checked. The Knicks and more importantly, New York City are starved for more playoff wins. The Giants and now Rangers have given the city some exciting playoff moments this year. It’s time for the Knicks to step into that spotlight and win playoff games. That success starts with the head coach and his attempt to make the Anthony-Stoudemire situation work, whether or not they are on the court together. 

Criticism always runs rampant in New York. Star players are blamed when their respective team loses. Coaches are fired. And most importantly, the fans want answers. However, one New York superstar athlete always seems to deflect criticism and he wears #7 for the New York Knicks.

Since arriving in New York, Carmelo Anthony has dodged criticism time after time. Sure, Knick fans got on Melo for about a week this season when Linsanity came to an abrupt end upon his return. But since his injury, Knick fans have basically written Jeremy Lin off and pinned their title aspirations to the ball chucking Anthony. Knick fans like hefty scoring totals, which Anthony provides on a nightly basis. But the astute fan knows that strong individual performance don’t translate in the post-season. Add in the fact that Anthony has never made the NBA Finals in his eight year career. Anthony’s playoff numbers are in-line with his regular season averages (24.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG), but Anthony’s unwillingness to play team basketball ultimately plagues his title hopes.

Take Sunday’s game against the Miami Heat. Anthony scored 42 points, but the Knicks fell to the Heat by eight points. Granted, the Knicks were outgunned by the explosive Miami Heat, but Carmelo vs. the World will just lead to another first round exit. Amar’e is expected to rejoin the team this weekend, but even with Amar’e in the fold, the Knicks have showed they don’t play team basketball well with both players on the court. Amar’e’s pick and roll partner is rehabbing a knee injury while Anthony needs space to get going offensively. Melo and Amar’e just don’t complement each well offensively… and we can all forget about the word defense.

As we all get ready for the NBA Playoffs, we all aren’t expecting much from the Knicks. They’ll take on either the Heat or Bulls in the first round and Melo’s unwillingness to play team basketball will result in another first round exit. Instead of simply just congratulating the Knicks on making the playoffs, it’s time someone got on Anthony and made him responsible for his team’s lackluster, inconsistent play.

When Melo unlocks his inner Paul Pierce and starts committing himself to team basketball and defense, we can start talking deep playoff runs. Until then, expect the Knick season to once again end in April.