The New York Knicks face a “must-win” situation Tuesday night when they play Game 4 against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, a place where the Knicks haven’t won in three tries this season.
But when the words “must win” are thrown on the table, that’s when superstars answer the call.
To this point in his 10-year NBA career Carmelo Anthony has not been able to do that, but that’s something he has to change come Tuesday night.
If he doesn’t and the Knicks don’t come away with a win, their season won’t be officially over, but it will be all but finished nonetheless.
There are many aspects of the Knicks game that needs to improve for Game 4, but Anthony having a huge game is certainly one of them.
This is the moment he wanted when he choose to be a Knick. This is a moment that can help define his career. If he doesn’t come through, it will be hard for Anthony to shake the label of a guy who can’t win big games.
He certainly needs some help as ‘Melo can’t do it all by himself, but sometimes a superstar has to steal a game by himself. This may be one of those games.
Anthony took just 16 shots in Game 3 but you can bet that number will increase on Tuesday. However he has to be careful of not over doing it and getting back to playing “Melo Ball.” Anthony has to find that perfect mix of carrying a team offensively but still playing team basketball. It’s a delicate line to toe, but ‘Melo has to do exactly that.
If he does, the Knicks have a good shot at coming back to New York with the series tied, 2-2.
Anthony has eclipsed the 30-point plateau only twice in his last seven playoff games; including only one-of-three games this series.
He has shot under 40 percent from the floor in two of those three games, something that can’t happen on Tuesday.
To have success, ‘Melo must find a way to score on the Pacers’ Paul George, something he hasn’t been able to do this series.
George held Anthony to 4-for-11 shooting in Game 3. Anthony has hit just 34 percent of his attempts when defended by George throughout the series.
One option could be less isolation when George is guarding Anthony. Turning to the pick-and-roll with ‘Melo in those situations could do a lot to free him up more.
Whatever the case, Anthony has to find a way to have a big game.
His back is against the wall and the pressure is on.
Those are the situations where superstars thrive and take hold of the moment.
To be in that class, Anthony has to make a big statement in Game 4.
If he doesn’t, the critics will come out of the woodworks and it will probably be well-deserved.
However Anthony still has some big games left ahead of him this postseason.
He can do a lot to silence the critics by having a huge game and bringing this series back to The Garden tied at two.
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