Harris DeckerFrom the start of the season, one thing has remained constant: Carmelo Anthony can score with the best of them. That has been true since opening night and continues to be true during the current five-game winning streak. Anthony is averaging 28.8 points per game over the last five, ahead of his average over the season of 28.1. With Anthony continuing to play his role, it’s the rest of the team that has finally stepped up to help and it has lead to the current streak.
Each night it’s been a different guy. Against the Timberwolves, it was Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire. Against the Jazz, it was Tyson Chandler’s double-double and against the Celtics and 76ers, it was Tim Hardaway Jr., with two of his best games this year.
It all begins with Stoudemire, who has looked sensational over the past few weeks. He’s playing with a fire that we haven’t seen since his early days in New York and is really opening things up for Anthony and the rest of the team. We never could have imagined Stoudmire turning into a true scoring threat on offense and showing up to play with a ton of energy on defense. That combination, like his 17 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots against the Cavaliers, have inspired the rest of the team.
Hardaway Jr. is another guy who’s really stepped it up, especially in the last two games. When Stoudemire isn’t having a great game, or when he’s not in the lineup, it wasn’t clear who would step up and be that second option. Hardaway Jr. answered the call. He scored 28 points, including 5-for-7 from behind the arc against the 76ers, and followed it up with 22, with three from long range against the Celtics a few nights later.
With Stoudemire and Chandler returning to the lineup tomorrow against the Bucks, the Knicks need to keep this intensity. They need to seamlessly work the two big men back into the mix and allow J.R. Smith and Hardaway Jr. to continue to get open shots from outside. If you pair that with the incredible play Anthony continues to display, the Knicks winning streak might keep on rolling.