Hamilton: Carmelo Anthony now stands alone in the Garden

Moke Hamilton, NBA Analyst

With Patrick Ewing sitting courtside, Michael Jordan watching and Kobe Bryant en route to New York City, on Friday night, Carmelo Anthony put the New York Knicks on his back and rose up above Madison Square Garden.

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He soared as he scored, higher and higher, until he stood alone in history.

An arctic January night in New York City became a cauldron of hope and euphoria. And for 48 minutes, as Anthony set the Knicks franchise and Madison Square Garden scoring record with 62 exhilarating points, Knicks fans were allowed to temporarily escape the misery of the abyss.

With a sparsely filled Garden on hand to witness the Knicks hopefully turn the Charlotte Bobcats into house cats, Anthony, by his own admission, had seen enough.

“I’m just tired of losing,” he said after scoring 37 points in the game’s first half. And after following it up with 25 points in the second, Anthony admitted that it felt good.

“What happened tonight feels surreal for me,” Anthony said afterward. And while he was basking in his history-making moment, Anthony said something that resonated.

“The fans, I haven’t heard them like that since last year.”

And in that moment, despite his personal accomplishment, Anthony reminded all of his Knicks consistent failures this season. On a night when he broke records and stood alone as an individual, his thoughts were on his team’s lost season.

Anthony himself knew that his record breaking performance does not change the fact that the Knicks, after defeating the Bobcats, are just 8-15 at Madison Square Garden this season and 16-27 overall. They trail the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors by four and 6.5 games, respectively.

They possess the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference and are on the outside of the NBA’s playoff picture, looking in and looking up at the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers and, yes, these Bobcats.

But, at least for one night, we were reminded of one other thing that the Knicks possess—now, there was no doubt. The Knicks possess Anthony—certainly the greatest single-game scorer in their franchise’s long history and arguably one of the greatest the league has ever seen.

And as he soared, as he wiggled free from defenders and popped off of screens, Anthony showed us what he can be at his best. It is that Anthony that Knicks fans believed they traded their farm for.

It is that Anthony—the Anthony we saw on Friday night—that had Knicks fans dreaming of raining on South Beach and reigning on South Beach.

The lead-headed observers will point to Anthony’s zero assists and foolishly denounce his 35 shot-attempts. But they will not point out that the Bobcats refused to double-team Anthony until the game’s third quarter, when he had already totaled 49 points. They will similarly fail to point out the fact that Anthony converted on 18 of his first 24 shots. And they certainly do not realize that any NBA coach would encourage his star player to make the opposition pay every single time if he was hot and if he was facing single coverage.

When the Bobcats began doubling Anthony in the game’s third quarter, he moved the ball effectively. When he found open men—J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway—they clanked open looks.

Those same observers are the ones who denounce Anthony for not being Magic Johnson, LeBron James or Chris Paul. And they fail to realize an obvious truth about Anthony: he is not them.

He, at least historically, has not been a demanding leader who galvanizes his troops with gut-busting effort. He has never been one to make quick decisions with the basketball and turn in double-digit assist efforts regularly.

What he is and always has been is a gifted scorer who needs the correct pieces around him to excel. The untold story of Anthony’s season, thus far, has been that he has played as passionately and with as much effort as we have seen in quite some time. It is his teammates who, either due to attrition, a lack of experience, a lack of confidence, or all three, have ultimately failed him.

And as he thought about this almost lost season, Anthony was grateful to have gotten the scoring record, but was even happier for a win.

And no, a single game does not change anything in the grand scheme, but seeing Anthony make history with his team and for his team, and witnessing the offensive dominance that made him a household name initially, that was refreshing.

For at least one night, Anthony became larger than life, larger than the Garden, and the largest in his team’s history. And he did it his way.

This Anthony is the one that brought dreams of ending a 40-year championship drought in one of the country’s basketball hotbeds.

While he certainly will not score 62 points every night, on any given night, he can score 40. How efficiently he does it can shift the scales in favor of the Knicks, against anyone, and in today’s NBA, that, in and of itself, has immense value.

Mike Woodson knows it, Anthony knows it and opposing coaches know it.

So although the Knicks are still on the brink of expiration, and although the Knicks still have to seriously contemplate trading Anthony before the February 20 trade deadline, he remains one of the league’s most dangerous scorers and remains a player around whom a contender can be built. He proved that on Friday.

Witnessing a reminder of that fact, even against the lowly Bobcats, was, again, refreshing.

Somewhere between Allen Iverson leading his Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals in 2001 and Steve Nash winning consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in 2005 and 2006, the NBA’s collective media began to thumb its nose at players known as volume scorers. Perhaps rightfully so, Anthony has been on the receiving end of an immense amount of criticism for his existence as such.

(Photo: Bill Kostroun, AP)

(Photo: Bill Kostroun, AP)

Even if only for one night, and even if only in one game, Anthony rose majestically up above all the criticism, all the neigh saying and negativity and reminded us all.

For one night and for 48 minutes, he made Knicks fans forget their plight. He did it by doing what he does best. And though it only counts for one win, taking back the Garden’s scoring record from Bryant was poetic justice.

What is ironic about Anhony’s 35 shots and 62 points is that, until the latter stages of the third quarter, with his teammates egging him on after alerting him of his approaching Bryant’s 61-point record, he did not seem to force the action. He played within himself and with poise and grace.

Most importantly, he played efficiently.

With this Anthony—the efficient scorer who does not needlessly force the action—the Knicks can have sustained success. So long as he continues to be himself, with the right supporting cast and improved play from his teammates, this Anthony may rise once again.

Through the rafters at the World’s Most Famous Arena, up the standings in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, and who knows where else.

Enough of the losing, enough of the lethargy. And enough of not being the scoring champion in his own building. Anthony decided, enough was enough.

In the record books, January 24, 2013 will replace December 25, 1984 and February 2, 2009, the respective dates when Bernard King and Bryant scored 60 and 61 points at Madison Square Garden.

In the end, whether or not Anthony is a Knick this time next season, that date may also go down as the night when he reminded the world of his gift. Love him or hate him, witnessing Anthony’s historic performance, using that gift, was something that the Garden’s faithful needed to see. For them, it was a welcomed reminder.

Ahead of King, ahead of Bryant and in front of Ewing, Anthony reminded us all of who he was. And as the Knicks continue to try to pull themselves off of the mat, it was well-timed. Anthony’s flight was well executed.


Moke Hamilton is the NBA Analyst for SNY.tv and, along with Lead Writer Harris Decker, hosts the Knicks Blog Podcast each and every Wednesday. Follow him on Twitter: @MokeHamilton




67 comments
C0P0
C0P0

Whatever it takes. 

I hope Melo stays a Knick and Dolan breaks his piggy bank putting a REAL championship team behind him. 

He's proved his worth. Like Kobe and LebBon, it's ALL about MELO and what he needs around him. Period. 

No stops. ZERO. What luxury Tax? Did you see how much money you can make when Melo is on Fire? Imagine if Melo were surrounded by better players and perhaps a new coach? Let's say we'd be in The Finals last year vs The Heat IMO.

It's time for Dolan to do whatever it takes to keep Carmelo Anthony here and get The Knicks right. 

cole3244
cole3244

as i expected one win and the positive patsy's have a flutter in their hearts with the visions of a long winning streak, ecf, & an mvp candidate on their hands again unless the league rigs the vote against melo.

as spectacular as melo's game was last night having one player be the whole offense is not conducive to being a consistent winner or competitive against better teams. 

last night shows even more this is a team of melo and the dwarfs, even though most here realize there isn't great talent they want to trade some of the least talented for good players from other teams and give up draft picks we don't have anymore, bb IQ for some here is in the single digits at best.


last night gave the believers (positive patsy's) something to crow about but all it really did was insure melo will get a max somewhere and let the other players realize they have no chance to be included in the o unless the game is hopelessly lost or during mop up time, which again is not the way to run a team & that's spelled without an i people, something most of the positive patsy's either have forgotten or never knew in the first place.


the next three games are winnable then the heat are up, if the knicks go into the heat game on a winning streak i can only imagine the shrill screams of we're #1 that will be reverberating throughout this site and the eff them & eff you that will be heard in protest of the conspiracy by everyone from the nba fo to the refs in an attempt to keep the knicks from their destiny of being champs, that is why they are called fans and its not because they are logical or knowledgeable.


Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

Without Bargnani on the floor, the Knicks looked much better on both ends. Bargnani offered little more than being able to shoot the ball and not that efficiently for a PF-C. Last night you saw the floor open up for Melo at the 4 and the spacing and pace from last year returned. We are back to the small ball attack and perhaps we can start to generate more wins than losses.

While it may not continue, the Tyler-Aldrich duo produced well. They had 13 boards, 7 offensive, and 10 points. We didn't miss our injured trio of PF's. Tyler looked impressive and Aldrich, aside from being over matched against Jefferson, looked like he could hold his own against second unit big men.


Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Congrats to Melo great all around game. Now pack your bags and get traded. Melo can make this team better by doing that. And the season so far proves that. One guy does not win anything and there is no help for Melo on this sad team. Ask Lebron if 1 man wins championships.

There are 3 moves out there that can make this team better.

1) 3 way trade Melo to LAC, Cousins to the Knicks, and Griffin to the Kings.

2) The trade offered earlier for Lowry. Finally nets you a true point guard.

3) Chandler for David Lee, GS is dying for defense.

These trades instantly make the Knicks a better "team". Let's look at season averages so far.

D. Cousins- 22.6 ppg, 11.6 RPG, 3 APG, 1.8 stl, 1.2 blk.

D. Lee- 19.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.3 APG, 0.5 stl, 0.4 blk.

K. Lowry- 16.2 ppg, 4.2 RPG, 7.4 apg , 1.6 stl, 0.2 blk.

This is the start of a much better better "team". Then if they wish Lee would be a great starting point for a trade for K. Love. And to to take Melo's place you G. Hayward, L. Deng, Al-farouq Aminu, etc and at SG there's N. Young, Thabo Sefalosha, J. Meeks.

With the three trades plus FA this team can easily become a championship contender next year. A starting 5 of

Cousins

Lee

Hayward/Deng

Young

Lowry

Is a much better starting 5, and leaves money on the table for a much better cast of support players. And your attacking the heats weakness with your bigs. Would love to see this happen but as we all know Dolan won't allow it.

bksmitty
bksmitty

At this point in time I really hate the new collective bargaining agreement that may have to force us to trade this dude that is clearly one of the best players in the game. Carmelo is the best scorer in the game hands down.

if this was baseball the Knicks would early operate like the New York Yankees who can cover up their mistakes with money instead and basketball you are forced to build around young players who may never pan out to be anything.. Flawed system

bksmitty
bksmitty

this is simply not the type of player that you trade away for draft picks who can only wish to one day score 62 points at MSG

KnickelusKnickleby
KnickelusKnickleby

The Switches get Stitches Campaign worked i didn't see a lot of switching which is surprising. 

Defense was locked in

i like what Tyler can bring oh and JR was a facilitator 

now lets keep this going...we can limp into the 7th or 8th spot 

and maybe shock someone in the 1st round. 

Anthony Giammattei
Anthony Giammattei

I got the feeling that Anthony was also appreciative of the fans voting him in as a first team All Star despite the horrible season the Knicks have had so far, and consciously or unconsciously wanted to somehow reward them.

nykallday
nykallday

@Elvis Maduro 

agree u cant hate on him after last nights performance.eveyone should just enjoy this one magical game in what has been a terrible season


HypoCrit_calNYKfans
HypoCrit_calNYKfans

@cole3244 

Basketball atheist like you I no longer even pity because you have gone from a sense of disillusionment in your mind to a depraved cynicism in it. And in your heart it reek of the foulest stench. You come from wallowing in the mud and want to give lessons on being clean. You have an unsightly hump in your back from to often reaching to kiss your own A$$ and you want to preach as if your standing upright! Your a nothing and a nobody so you increase your size with hate disguise as reason. The fact of the matter is that your small. Your small and your low! Keep on drifting through this universe and try a little harder to be unnoticeable for basketball fans and basketball supporters sake!

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

It was the Bobcats without Kemba Walker calm down killer. What was their record last year and the year before. They are one of the worst teams in basketball history.

1harris1
1harris1

Cousins would be a complete disaster in NY. He can't even handle the "criticism" of his game made by the the beat writers in Sacramento. The media in NY would absolutely kill him.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Your wrong, you can pay your own player more then any other team can. The Knicks are the Mets. They just sign the wrong players to massive contracts. Amere and Chandler are not worth what they are being payed. And to be honest the team never should have been built this way.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Your insane if you truly believe Melo is a better scorer then Durant or Lebron your also forgetting an underrated player by the name of K. Love.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

It was also the Bobcats without their best scorer. So let's relax a bit here.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

If you think he cares anything about the fans your wrong. This is all about FA and that's it. Melo never before with the Knicks hit the boards harder played better defense then he is this year I wonder why.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@Bo Beck 

I'm nice and calm. It was the Knicks without Bargnani that impressed me. Addition by subtraction. The Knicks are under .500 with Melo at the 3 during his time here and over .500 with him at the 4 spot.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Is he not preforming under that criticism?

HypoCrit_calNYKfans
HypoCrit_calNYKfans

@NoVaCaInE

Well at least we have learned from that above comment, that the axiom: "Even a fool can find a fool to eat his vomit" is true. I did not waste my time reading the senselessness of "liittle bo beck" but I did look to see who did read it and like it. I guess cole3244 has a taste for vomit!    

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

You think this garbage that takes the court every night is better then that starting 5. If so you haven't been watching to many games have you?

rico
rico

@Bo Beck The Knicks are NOT the Mets. First its a bogus comparison. Second the Knicks have to manage and build their team within a salary cap agreed upon by the owners and players asso.   If Dolan owned the METS he could try and buy a championship and spend like the Yankees. In the NBA he's got to manage within the cap. There is no way around it, though he tries. He and his puppet GMs have FAILED to do this since he was given the Knicks by his papa. 


In comparison the owners of the METS the Wilpons have had money problems so they are doing the smartest thing they can which is start over, rebuild through the draft.  The Mets might suck but they have a plan. The Knicks keep doing that same thing again and again under Dolan and losing. I think they call that insanity.

bksmitty
bksmitty

What I'm saying is that the small market owners handcuffed the large market teams. The Yankees have so many botched signings it crazy. They are allowed to throw their money around and cover us mistakes.

Even in the NFL the highest paid player can restructure their contract. The nba is whack!

denelor
denelor

@Bo Beck I don't think you understand how the CBA works if you think what you claim to think.  Bad contracts are punished in the NBA, because you are ultimately limited in what you can spend and how you can spend.  


In the NBA it is impossible to cover up past mistakes by spending more money like it is in MLB.  


I'm not saying either system is better or worse, but that's just the way it is.  One or two bad contracts kill an NBA team's ability to build.  Not so in baseball.  Not at all.  In baseball all that matters it what ownership is willing and able to spend. 

bksmitty
bksmitty

Hahah. I have read some of your outlandish quotes.. Lebron drives to the basket for his scoring. Melo does it all. KD is a beast to me Melo has a better all around offensive arsenal. Give him a pg to create for others..

cole3244
cole3244

@Chris@cole3244@knicks50another patsy speaks up, go back to bb school fool you don't have a clue, faux coach.

i like the avatar it was very original, but it can't cover up your ignorance and lack of bb acumen. 

have the imaginary hs kids figured out what a fraud you are yet, they will.

Chris
Chris

@cole3244@knicks50The truth shall set you free Chloe. Just read the truth, with your redundancy and futile  attempts at sarcasm . What`s your game 2k? Come back with your cute little fake coach crap, then ask Mr Boots AH , and you shall learn

denelor
denelor

@Bo Beck No one believes that.  


Doesn't change the fact that your "this is the Bobcats" nonsense was wrong.  They're one of the top defensive teams in the league.  So "This is the bobcats, calm down" doesn't actually mean what you think it means.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Ok and you keep on believing melo's going to put up 62 a night. What's their record?

Chris
Chris

@Bo BeckBoster talk to Jimmy B, who has forgot more hoops then you will ever know

denelor
denelor

@Bo Beck Congratulations.  Lebron, a top five player ALL TIME, did more with "garbage in Cleveland".  How dare Melo not compare to one of the greatest players ever.  


Name a single superstar who won titles consistently on a team where he was the only star?  Name just one.  Please. 


No one, no matter their talent, wins consistently by themselves.  That's not how this game works. 

1harris1
1harris1

@Bo Beck Your criticisms of Melo are obviously fair, but let's be honest: Melo has never really been on a team that should have been in the championship series.  He's never played on the best team in the league, talent wise.

And while he hasn't reached a championship series in his career, he did get to a western conference finals at a time when the western conference was probably a lot stronger than the eastern conference (during which time LeBron was in Cleveland). 


LeBron is an incomparable player (in terms of the present day NBA), so I don't hold it against Melo that he hasn't accomplished as much as LeBron. 


I think if you gave Melo the right players, he would be more selfless.  He doesn't trust the players around him now. The Knicks have no reliable number 2 scorer currently on their roster.  They have a substandard starting point guard.  They lack rebounding depth up front, so much so that Melo has had to pick up his rebounding numbers this year.  No star in the league, even LeBron, is winning anything of consequence with this roster.



Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Building around Melo isn't a good idea by any stretch. He makes the offense to stagnant. He needs to have the ball in his hands. I'm tired hearing this guy has no help he had better teams in Den and here in N.Y and never got to a championship Lebron did more with a garbage Cle team.

It's time to put a team out there and not 1 plus everyone else. With the team I posted earlier all are unselfish players. All have played in a fast paced offense and most importantly all are willing to play defense. Lee may not be great at it but puts more effort into it then any PF this team throws out there now.

And if you run Love out there instead of Lee your going to be damn near impossible to beat.

1harris1
1harris1

@Bo Beck Well, stable ownership is not exactly a hallmark at MSG at these days.  You also need a competent front office to bring in the right character players.  Not sure we have that.


But we just agree to disagree about DeMarcus.  It takes a special mental toughness to be a star in NY, especially for a franchise like the Knicks that hasn't won anything in forever.  I don't think he has it.  But to be fair, you never know: maybe the guy is a big fish in a small pond.   

1harris1
1harris1

@Bo Beck I hear you.  I agree with focusing on getting a star player back for Melo if they commit to trading him.   With the way we draft, I wouldn't want to leave it up to our front office to have to try to find star talent through draft picks.  LOL.


If it were me, I'd try to build around Melo.  But I admit that I don't know enough about the salary cap rules to know how feasible that is.  We know one thing.  If Melo stays, he's not taking a pay cut.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

And in my opinion you put him with a stable coaching staff and ownership with better character players he will be fine. With the new ownership he has been fine and playing better then ever.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

OK in your opinion, doesn't mean it has to be him. The point is bringing in draft picks for Melo isn't the right move. Not with how the Knicks draft. I would do the 3 way trade straight up for Love as well. Having a big man is huge and Love can shoot from anywhere, pulls in boards, plays both C and PF.

A star has to be brought in for a star not picks. This team can't win the way it's built now.

1harris1
1harris1

@Bo Beck Yes, but he's constantly at odds with the people out there, and it has resulted in a lot of problems in the past, including suspensions for conduct.  He's a great talent.  But there are some star players who are not cut out for NY.  He's one of them, in my opinion.

bksmitty
bksmitty

We never had the chance to see Amare and Melo. The last I saw of that duo was when we were killing Boston game 1 of the playoffs the first year we got those guys. I don't buy into they couldn't play with each other.

bksmitty
bksmitty

Thanks. Dolan is willing to spend.. I think alot of people don't understand the can.

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Yes but if you sign the right players you can keep them over any other team. The fault comes in not in the CBA but in the fo and owner. Let's look at it this way if they don't sign Amere but instead get Lebron no Chandler but instead sign Bosh they are in better position now then they are with Chandler and Amere.

The heat with just about the same amount of money have put together a very good supporting cast. While the Knicks keep signing older vets or mental cases.

And let's not forget trading away draft picks. They could have been a very good team but have made stupid decisions.

Harder to make up for mistakes but not impossible.

denelor
denelor

@Bo Beck You're proving my point with your own arguments.  The Knicks CAN'T cover up the Amare signing.  Not in any way.  His money hurts the team because it limits what they are allowed to spend (as opposed to what they can afford to spend, which doesn't matter because of the CBA). 


That alone proves this isn't like baseball, which was bksmitty's point.  He said he wished the CBA didn't exist and this was more like baseball so the Knicks could just spend more to, for exampe, cover up the Amare signing.  


And yes they can offer Melo more.  But doing so HURTS THEIR ABILITY TO SIGN OTHERS because of the CBA.  That's his whole point. 

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Ok let's get this straight when the Knicks tried covering up by signing Chandler and Amere has that worked.

Can the Knicks not offer Melo more then any other club?

Chris
Chris

@Bo BeckNo doubles( You can`t doub LeRoid, he has too many scorers around him) Boster, you state partial truths. And I note you choose possibly the best player on the planet to compare, try the other 298 in the league

Bo Beck
Bo Beck

Lebron 3 ball check

Can he score inside the paint check

Can he shoot a mid range jumper check

Can he make the driving layup or dunk check

Does he need more shots then Melo to score 24 nope

Higher FG% Check-

All that translates to better scorer.