Can Melo lead the Knicks to post season glory?
Following their 95-82 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, the New York Knicks found themselves in a familiar situation.
A situation in which Carmelo Anthony is at the forefront of their offensive charge, as he posted up 40 points to follow a career-high 50 points against Miami Heat the previous night. The Knicks forward is now 66% shooting from the field in his last two games.
Having seemingly fully recovered from a knee injury that appeared to have knocked him out of his stride last month, Anthony is returning to the kind of form that had many experts and fans building up New York’s chances earlier this season.
The initial criticism was that he and Amare Stoudemire were not compatible. Despite a short flurry from the latter before suffering a setback in his return from on-going knee complaints, it is Anthony who has taken control of this Knicks team this season and has become the stand-out go-to guy.
In terms of his level of performance in the entire league, Kevin Durant is the only name ahead of the 28-year-old in the points per game standings, as he has consistently shown an ability to score heavily even against the league’s best.
However, as shown in the chart above, there are still flaws in his game which see him fall short of reaching the levels of his fellow competitors.
Supported well by sixth man J.R. Smith, the Knicks have been tagged as potential contenders this season, but will need to take their current 10-game winning streak with them into the play-offs.
With a history of struggling in the post season, the belief that the franchise had in the opening months of the season is slowly returning. As are the injured stars on the roster, the latest of whom was Tyson Chandler who looks set to play a huge part in the play-off run.
The remaining criticism of Anthony is that he hasn’t got the all-round game which will put him on the same level as the likes of Durant, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Despite being a ruthless scorer, other aspects of his game including facilitating and work on the boards sees him fall short of being placed in the upper echelons along with the game’s greatest.
However, he has a chance this season to put his name in the history books as the Knicks sit second in the Eastern Conference, two games away from reaching the 50 wins mark for the first time in almost 14 years. Mike Woodson’s men have even shown they are capable of beating the East’s top seed Miami, leading the regular season series 3-1.
The current standings in the Eastern Conference have the Knicks facing an opening round series with the Boston Celtics. With just under a fortnight left of the regular season, Anthony is clearly in the mood to extend his season for a lot longer.