April Showers Bring Melo Flowers!!!
This strike-shortened season has felt like 3 “mini-season’s” in the minds of Knicks fans and the person in the middle of this roller coaster ride is Carmelo Anthony. Before this season started many NBA analysts including myself had the Knicks ranked as one of the top 4 teams in the East. Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler formed what was supposed to be the best front court in the NBA. After an extremely slow start to the season those theories changed and the Knicks seemed to be in a free fall with no point guard available to run the offense. The Knicks head coach at the time, Mike D’Antoni, then discovered an undrafted point guard from Harvard at the end of his bench that resurrected a slowly dying team with Melo and Stat out with injuries. All seemed to be going well until the two superstars came back and the Knicks got all too comfortable returning to their losing ways. D’Antoni handed in his resignation and then there seemed to be a new type of hope. After a few dominant wins with all of the Knicks starters fully healthy made fans optimistic about the rest of the season but before long Jeremy Lin had a season ending surgery on his knee and Amare went down with another back injury. At the time, Carmelo Anthony was yet to find his rhythm and everything seemed to be going in the wrong direction for the Knicks. That’s when the Knicks 3rd “mini-season” started and all the New York faithful finally saw why we traded half our roster last season for Carmelo Anthony.First off, I have to admit then when the Knicks were struggling tremendously I placed majority of the blame on Carmelo and D’Antoni and it seems as if I was 50% correct with my analysis. It looks as if Melo really did not want to play for coach D’Antoni by the way he never tried hard on defense and how he jogged up and down the court with a mopey look on his face. The day D’Antoni left the team seemed to make a light bulb go off in Anthony’s head that made him realize there is no where else to point the blame now except himself. Well he has taken that added pressure and has put together the greatest stretch of his future Hall of Fame career.
In Melo’s most recent game in New Jersey he showed that he has no plans to slowing down his onslaught of the NBA. In New Jersey, what was supposed to be an away game felt very much like a home game. Towards the waning minutes of the game Melo was showered with chants of “MVP, MVP!” After the game Anthony said, “It felt good, I’m not the MVP. It felt good to see the jerseys on the road, to see all the Knicks uniforms in the stands, the Knicks fans out there. It was a great Knicks atmosphere out there tonight.” Carmelo had an outstanding 1st quarter by scoring 21 points and going 4-4 from beyond the arc and finished the game with 33 points, with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Earlier in the week Melo posted 42 against Miami in a losing effort but it was the highest point total of any opponent of the Heat this season. He has stepped up his defense and completely embraced what coach Woodson is preaching. In 6 out of his last 9 games Anthony has scored 30 or more points, including two 40+ performances. He is averaging 32.2 points per game in April, and shooting above 50 percent from the floor. Carmelo could not have picked a better time to get hot with the playoffs right around the corner.
Let’s hope he can keep this up and maybe bring some glory back to Madison Square Garden!