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New York 104, San Antonio 100: Yes, the Knicks are for real.

Nov 16, 2012, 12:09 AM EDT

Carmelo Anthony AP

You know how announcers talk about Shane Battier? How they say he “does things that don’t show up in the boxscore” and how his value can’t really be defined by common statistics? Well, no one ever really says those things about Carmelo Anthony. Ever. And that’s fair. Anthony’s entire career has been defined by the column in the boxscore furthest to the right. That’s where his performances live in their entirety, right underneath that points column, where he hangs bigger numbers than just about everyone. For better or worse, that’s what has defined Carmelo Anthony. The pursuit of points.

By that very definition, tonight could be described as an individual failure for Anthony. Even in victory, Anthony scored just 9 points in a 104-100 thriller in San Antonio that kept the Knicks undefeated.

But obvious team success aside, this wasn’t an individual failure for Anthony at all. This was probably the best worst game of Anthony’s career.

Sure, Raymond Felton (25 points) was a scoring machine. Yes, Jason Kidd (4-for-6 from deep) was on fire from behind the arc. But let’s be clear — none of that happens without Anthony doing the things he did tonight. The Spurs threw the kitchen sink at Anthony. If he was lucky enough to actually get the ball through strong ball denials, every off-ball Spurs defender pulled towards his side of the floor like metal to Magneto. DeJuan Blair beat up on him to start, then came Stephen Jackson, then Kawhi Leonard. And on and on it went like that — fresh body after fresh body to bang on Melo.

It almost worked. The Spurs built an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter after Tiago Splitter (who else, right?) went on a one man scoring run with 13 (!) straight points. But even with that happening on the Spurs’ home floor, where they’re almost impossible to beat, the Knicks stayed calm and never started pressing or forcing the action. Anthony was still thoroughly accounted for on every possession, but he crashed the offensive glass with relentlessness once the Spurs turned their backs. He hustled after loose balls, saving a few from going out of bounds. He stuck his nose in the middle of the paint and mixed it up, never waving the white flag by running out to the perimeter and demanding the ball.

Ultimately, it paid off, and there was one defining possession for this Knicks team down the stretch. Down 95-94 with less than two minutes, Anthony had a lane to the rim on the fastbreak. But instead of keeping his blinders on and bowling his way to the rim, or pulling up for a jumper, Anthony spotted Felton in a better position on the other side of the floor. Felton, who was really feeling it, turned and kicked it out to an even more wide-open J.R. Smith, who nailed the 3 to give the Knicks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was a hockey assist for Anthony — another thing that doesn’t go in the boxscore.

We know Anthony can fill it up. But what we didn’t know is how he would react in the middle of a poor scoring night with these particular teammates. He trusted them, and there was no panic or pouting along the way. There was only passing — of the ball, and of the test.

  1. jerdogthompson - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Never thought this would be.

    Good for them.

  2. thenoblefacehumper - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    I’d ask Kurt to show his face after all his hate, but I’m pretty sure he’s banned me from making comments.

  3. thedripfeed - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Please wake me up from this dream….the Knicks can’t be this good. I know it’s early but I have been waiting for 12 years for a team like this

  4. heathater4lifeson - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Let’s see if they can keep it up when amare comes back

    • captainwisdom8888 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      Yea wtf amare ain’t even playin and they’re cush

      • zerole00 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:30 AM

        It’s cause Amare’s a handicap at this point. The only position he can play is one that Carmelo is a lot better at. His huge contract can’t go to waste so Carmelo has to switch to a weaker position (that he can still play).

  5. badintent - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    It’s called being a leader. Melo saw the flix, 2012 NBA Champs Heat. Starring LBJ. Throwing 5.5 dimes a night, hard nose D and grabbing big time boards in crunch time.
    No Hurricane Sandy in NY but it’s still raining …………………3s. Thanks to the “too old to play no more guys “, Kidd , Sheed, etc.Love it. Pass the Geritol.

  6. elnogo - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Lets go Knicks!!!!! I wish Melo is finally mention in the elite/mvp candite players if he keep it up!! Go Knicks!!!!!

  7. moseskkim - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    thats so true.. carmelo is an elite talent. amare is a pick n roll master. sure amare can shoot the j and post a little but most his production was from nash and felton (for a little). i think itll work this time because felton and kidd are good passers. toney douglas is not a starting point guard. if nothing else, it gives them good size to defend big teams.. and when one of melo or amare are resting, use them accordingly. knicks look great and veterans like kurt thomas and JKidd seem to have changed the culture.

  8. ebrownwareagle - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    MELO is A STUD!!! You would be an idiot to think other wise!!

  9. forthrightmc - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    All aboard the Hype Express, your conductor will be every sports writer in America. Instead of coal fueling the train, they’ll be using large market teams to speed this train down the rails of predictability.

    Here’s a little known fact I’d like to share, did you know that there are thirty teams in the NBA? That’s right! Thirty whole teams! Believe it or not, there many teams that reside in between the coasts of this beautiful country. There’s even one on a different planet, I think it’s called Canada.

    The more you know. Knowledge is power and other clichés.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:48 AM

      You are a sad creation.

      • forthrightmc - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM

        Personal attack? Don’t be a feelings hurter, we’re all friends here.

    • phaden27 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      Considering that half the articles the past few days have been only about the Lakers I think the writers know very well that there’s at least one other team in the league.

  10. doctorfootball - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Stings you that much to see the Knicks doing well, huh? Wow

  11. chronholio - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:08 AM


    I’m curios to see how the Stoudemire situation plays out as well. He’d be a pretty good 6th man for them but that’s an awful lot of money for a guy that comes off the bench.

  12. passerby23 - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Everything the Knicks hoped for has gone their way: J-Kidd’s leadership, Felton playing well (and not missing Lin at all), J.R. Smith finally reaching his potential, Melo playing team ball, and no chemistry issues. You just hope Amare coming back doesn’t mess things up. He’s really best suited coming off the bench. But, they play great defense, unselfish offense, and have the right veterans on the roster now.

    If there’s a matchup nightmare for the Heat, it’s New York. They have Tyson Chandler who can cover the floor, so small ball is tough to use against them. They play excellent defense and they can spread you out on the perimeter and open up driving lanes much like the Clippers did to the Heat last night. It’s early, but this team looks every bit a contender.

  13. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    Happy for the Knicks. Props to you guys.

    One of Melo’s great games — considering he didn’t score that much.

  14. cantonbound13 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Kurt can’t even write about the Knicks win, I love it!

  15. tkly18 - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    Honestly, knicks fans…. lets be real here.

    You guys are doing well, we all understand that. We recognize that you guys are exceeding expectations. HOWEVER, it’s very early in the season and I’m curious as to how Woodson will incorporate Stoudamire into the lineup. Personally, as a Lakers fan, he should be coming off the bench. Melo should be playing the 4 and the lineup you guys have right now is working. Why fuck it up?

    To be honest, Stoudamire should be traded (if anyone even wants to take him) for a solid backup (Taj Gibson, Kris Humphries… whatever) just so you guys don’t mess up the chemistry.

  16. yousuxxors - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:52 AM

    Why is everyone hating so much on the east coast?

  17. chronholio - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:29 AM


    I don’t think it’s the east coast they’re hating, it’s the coverage it receives.

  18. eflem80 - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Lol! Only thing I love more about my Knicks getting done as I expected them to this year is reading all the hate their getting with every win. “Heat took easy on em” ” can’t do that to Philly in Philly” “Mavs ain’t that good” LOL, LOVE IT ! NEEEEEEEEW YOOOOOORK KNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICKS!!!!!

  19. andiroid71 - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    Wasn’t a huge Melo fan, and was never sure of the trade. But he is playing like a complete player so far. The crazy swipe blocks, the hustle on d and scramble on loose balls. It works! And he looks like he is really enjoying playing. They all do! Even J.R. Is playing more mature and less crazy cannon. And Sheed? The dude is all class.

    Teamwork is killing everyone so far! Go Knicks!

  20. elnogo - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    I thinks the most impressive thing about this win its the fact that SA took Melo of the game on offense and he still made an impact on D. They won as a unit putting individual # aside. Lets go KNICKS shock the world come June.

  21. money2long - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    anyone think the knicks reputation blinded people from the actual talent that was on the knicks? do you think people had reservations about believing in this knicks team prior to the season because they had that tendency to let you down or encourage the critics?

    this knicks team has some serious appeal. stephen a smith gave a suggestion of bringing amare off the bench, in order to still have that offensive firepower when melo takes a seat. felton and kidd will look to facilitate with amare and jr smith on the floor would help with spacing. the knicks could be all offense all the time with amare back.

    teams need to start figuring out a way to cool the off.

    • passerby23 - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      I agree with that, it’s just a question of whether Amare buys in or whether he becomes a chemistry problem.

  22. dysraw1 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I have followed Carmelo Anthony’s entire career, and i have to say i have never seen him in the flow of the game like he was last night. really impressive from the gate..

  23. themagicfanguy - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Happy for the Knicks, but its an 82 game season… Not a 6 game season. The hype is a tad exaggerated.

    • jolink653 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      I don’t agree with the hype comment…The Knicks have earned the hype up to this point and they proved it by going on the road to probably the toughest place in the NBA to play and they came back from 12 down midway in the fourth quarter against probably the #2 team in the league right now and pulled out a win…They’re playing hard, especially on defense, the passing has been great, and they’re all buying in to team basketball instead of the me-first approach we saw for the most part last year…I agree it’s a long season though and we have a long way to go but you can’t not be excited as a Knicks fan

    • mattydil4128 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      Oh you are a magic fan? Figures you are one of the teams we beat enroute to our perfect record. If you understand anything, for Knicks fan having a product we can cheer for and be proud of means the world to us. Why hate? Even though the sample size is small. It tells us GREATLY what to expect.

  24. bowwserr - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Hard to beat a team when they’re on such a hot streak, and draining that many 3’s. Bad news for Knicks fans: hot streaks don’t last 82 games, unfortunately.

    • mattydil4128 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      I am tired of this excuse. Let me explain something to you. The 3’s we are making aren’t late shot clock Jack Ups. They are rhythm open 3’s all with in the flow of the offense,. We already had an off shooting night several times, and won games with our defense. See the Orlando game.

      All season long I can bet you we will not only lead the leagues in 3pt efficiency but will average the most. Why? Because of how our offensive sets are ran and played. Having 2 PG’s on the team works wonders.

  25. jolink653 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    The most impressive and exciting thing I take away from that game last night is that this team is not all about Melo…The Spurs effectively removed him from the game on the offensive side of the ball and there were others who were willing and able to step up and fill the gap on offense left with Melo on lockdown…And what impressed me even more is that we’ve seen Melo sulk and complain in the past when this has happened in the past but this year he’s different and we saw him focus more on his defense and rebounding last night even as he wasn’t contributing much on the scoring end…Imagine where this team can get if everyone stays healthy (the key, obviously) and when we get Amare and especially Shump back? Especially if Amare was able to improve his play in the post with Olajuwon in the offseason and getting back one of the young elite defenders in the league? Wow it’s shaping up to finally be an exciting year for Knicks fans…Still early though

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