Carmelo Anthony has had his moments since joining the New York Knicks last season. Unfortunately, they have been overshadowed by an alleged dispute with former head coach Mike D’Antoni and a winning streak that he wasn’t apart of. Yet, now Anthony is part of the Knicks winning 7 of their last 8, moving back to .500 and getting within striking distance of first place in the Atlantic Division…and now, more than ever, Anthony must assert himself as this team’s franchise player.
Amare Stoudemire is likely out until the playoffs begin, if he is lucky and the Knicks happen to get there. Jeremy Lin is banged up and won’t be suiting up tonight against Orlando, the conference’s third best team. Anthony is dealing with a groin pull himself which he gutted through in the fourth quarter and will gut through again tonight against the Magic. It is admirable to see him play through pain, especially when the lifting will be so heavy without his power forward and point guard.
The Knicks have quality role players around Anthony and have learned to win ugly with defense, hustle and rebounding which is a beautiful and welcome sight to basketball fans in this city who have fond memories of the early 90s. Yet, if they are going to get through this brutal stretch of the schedule which is filled with playoff caliber opponents, it must be Anthony who takes the lead on both ends of the floor. The Knicks need their franchise player to carry them to a playoff spot and just maybe a division title.
These are the kind of situations where elite players are made and Anthony knows that.
“A situation like this requires me to step my game up a little bit more, take it up a notch,” Anthony said. “I love moments like this.” – Carmelo Anthony on Monday.
The Knicks brought him here to love moments like this and to thrive in them. There is enough talent around Anthony to make some real noise in the Eastern Conference, now it is up to him to lead the charge.