Every now and again, an individual player submits a performance so miraculous on the nation’s stage, we struggle to place it in the proper perspective. In Game 2, Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points and grabbed 17 rebounds (Dwight Howard numbers), hitting the type of shots that forced giggles from a couple former players sitting in a certain Atlanta studio.
It was truly remarkable. A once in a series type of stat line that will likely get drowned out over time by the game’s dismal result. Here’s what we know about it, though. As long as Amar’e Stoudemire’s a healthy piece on this Knicks team, you can forget about seeing anything like that ever again. In the second half of Tuesday night’s contest, Anthony was a kid in a candy store. He had all the shots to himself, almost more than he knew what to do with, and he enjoyed every second. A player of Amar’e's caliber keeps the defense honest and prevents double teams from rushing Carmelo, but $100 million players like Stoudemire don’t strike me as willing decoy bystanders.
Courtesy of Mike Lupica:
Now it is Anthony’s team, for a long time. Now and into the future. Stoudemire has been tremendous this season, he is the one who made the Knicks relevant again. But it’s not as if he had a championship in the books when Anthony got here, as if he had all this history. He had 54 games. Was two over .500.
These are Anthony’s Knicks. Whatever happens over the rest of this series, there is hope for Knicks fans because of that, but also there is the question of whether or not the Knicks can build something to last around Anthony. He carried a bad team on Tuesday night, no question. Some night. But just one night, that ended with him one basket short.
This passage, which discounts Amar’e Stoudemire as an elite player, bothers me. It’s fine to say Carmelo’s better, but declaring it his team is dangerous. The brand of basketball Anthony manufactures isn’t normally conducive to winning. Over 48 minutes it’s predictable, boring, and simple to game plan against. What New York needs is set role men built around both stars, and if they keep D’Antoni, a running of his system that doesn’t involve slow isolations. A speedy point guard to run the pick and roll with Amar’e makes it Amar’e's team. Carmelo Anthony holding check on the elbow with the ball in his hands makes it Carmelo’s team. Both are capable of taking over down the stretch. In my opinion, it’s both their teams.