The performance Carmelo Anthony put on at Madison Square Garden today was the type that made you laugh at anybody who regretted giving up Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and the immortal Timofey Mozgov. For all the headaches of the past season and a half, the Knicks victory over the Chicago Bulls, the de facto best team in the league, showed why the Anthony was worth it.
There are only a handful of players in this league with an ability to completely take over a game and will an inferior team to victory over a superior team, Anthony is one of those players. He put up a gaudy 43 points on 16-31 shooting from the field but more importantly was on when it mattered the most as he hit the game tying 3 to force overtime and the game winning 3 in overtime.
Both shots were drilled with a defender right in his face and both shots are an example of why nobody wants to play the New York Knicks in the first round. The Knicks were able to overcome a dreadful performance by JR Smith, who missed more shots today than some people miss in a season, a no show from starting point guard Baron Davis and a rare goose egg from sharpshooter Steve Novak.
It was Anthony taking charge on offense, Iman Shumpert playing like a grizzled veteran with his defense of Derrick Rose and Tyson Chandler protecting the paint that carried the now 29-27 Knicks over the Eastern Conference’s number one seed, a team they could very well see again in the first round.
We knew when Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin were lost to injuries, it would be on Anthony to carry this team and so far he has embraced and excelled with the task. His work is far from finished, the Knicks could still go anywhere from out of the playoffs to a number four seed over their last ten games. Yet for today, Anthony gave New York City a performance to remember and to remind us that he was worth the blockbuster trade that acquired him, worth parting ways with Mike D’Antoni and worth dealing with his previous rough patches.
Few players in this league can own crunch time how Anthony did today, the Knicks are lucky to have a player who can and will always be a threat as long as they have him.