It did not matter that the Miami Heat were undermanned. It made no difference that the New York Knicks were cruising to a high playoff seed. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks sent a strong message to the Heat last night: these playoffs will be different.
Anthony exploded with 50 points, his best performance of the season. It was the third time in his career that Anthony has scored 50 points in a game. He shot a blistering 69% from the field, including seven out of 10 from three-point range.
It was a merciless performance, as Anthony made basket after basket. He had 27 points by halftime. The TNT broadcasters joked that Heat forward Shane Battier, a good defensive player, would have nightmares about trying to guard Anthony. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers watched helplessly, as they sat on the Heat bench with injuries.
The Knicks have taken three out of four games from the Heat this season. They have beaten the Heat with Anthony and without Anthony. They have beaten them using a team effort and now an unstoppable individual performance. The Knicks are built to beat the Heat, and Anthony is doing whatever it takes to make that happen.
The Knicks easily could have taken the game lightly. Instead, they seized the opportunity to show the Heat that they mean business this time. Anthony was determined to reach 50 points last night, but not for individual accolades. Anthony sent a message to the Heat that the Knicks can and will beat them, any chance they get.
Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @realEdwinTorres.