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Carmelo isn’t over Pacers series

Oct 10, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six Getty Images

When LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami, critics decried the end of competitive balance. Many proclaimed the Heat would roll to a championship, defacing what had once been an honor that went to a team that earned it through grit and hard work.

What happened? Miami lost in the Finals.

Most NBA champions lose a heartbreaking playoff series beyond the first round before they win a title, and I don’t think that’s coincidence.

Winning an NBA title take an extreme devotion and focus that many players can never summon. For many of those who can, it’s not automatic, but a tough playoff loss can be the necessary motivation.

Part of that is a product of the teams that win titles being good enough to advance in the playoffs in the first place. Part of that is surely me crafting a narrative to fit the facts.

Still, I believe a difficult playoff loss is often a seminal step toward winning a championship.

The Knicks, who lost to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals semifinals round last season, have that playoff loss. Carmelo Anthony on that series, via Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

“I’m not over it. I’m not over it,” Anthony said. “I might act like it’s over but I’m not over it, not at all.”

Unfortunately for the Knicks, they have more problems than motivation.Jason Kidd, who facilitated the ball movement that really made their offense click last season, is coaching Brooklyn. Their defense is below average. Amar’e Stoudemire can’t get healthy.The Bulls, with Derrick Rose, are better than last season. The Nets, with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, should be better than last season. The Heat and Pacers could take small steps back from last season, but they have room to do so and remain better than New York.At least Melo can likely find another playoff series to motivate him for the 2014-15 season.

  1. denverhoopdreams - Oct 10, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    “The Knicks, who lost to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, have that playoff loss. Carmelo Anthony on that series, via Ian Begley of ESPN New York:”

    The Knicks didn’t make it to the Eastern Conference Finals… And probably never will with Melo.

  2. lastdukestreetking - Oct 10, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Eastern Conference Finals??? Did I miss something?

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 10, 2013 at 7:16 PM

      You missed the edit.

  3. dysraw1 - Oct 10, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    i don’t blame him for not being over it last season our window was bigger than it is this year. because of the upgrades the other teams made. last year we would have had the Spurs in finals a team we might have stood a chance against.

  4. doc305 - Oct 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Wow, and here I thought Miami played Indiana in the ECF and eventually went on to win in Finals… what a weird dream i have been having for the past 4 months…..

    If I can, I would like to apply for a position with PBT. I don’t prove ( <—-example) read or back up any of my statements with facts or logic.

  5. cruzan80 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    So much wrong in this article its embarrassing. The Knicks were ranked 7th in the league in defense….how that can be considered “below average” beats me. As for Jason Kidd being the reason the offense “clicked” Well, Mr. Kidd averaged 1.1 turnover per game in 20.6 MPG…while Raymond Felton (the guy who actually was responsible for facilitating the team’s offense) averaged 1.7 turnovers per game in 37.8 MPG. Point is….the numbers show that Kidd will hardly be missed in that manner at all. Pointing out that Amare can’t stay healthy is supposed to mean what exactly to a team that just won 54 games without & a series in the playoffs WITHOUT him??? Lastly, Yes Brooklyn & Chicago may have gotten “better” but so did the Knicks ……whether you’ll like to admit it or not & seeing that both those teams finished BEHIND the Knicks last season I’m gonna say that the Knicks “problems” are pretty limited to just motivation. Oh…..& they didn’t get to the Eastern Conference Finals either…..

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

      We use points allowed per possession as a defensive measure at this site and the Knicks were 17th in that measure defensively last season. That’s below average.

  6. papichulo55 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Knicks in the ECF? Could this be an intentionally committed foul, trying to spice things up? Well played, Dan!

  7. ProBasketballPundit - Oct 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Why would Indiana take a step back this season? Didn’t Hibbert have a coming out party in the playoffs? Isn’t Paul George making huge strides each season? Did they not add a few decent bench players… addressing their biggest issue last season?

    • cruzan80 - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Their biggest issue was PG play…..

      • zoomy123 - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        Which is why they now have CJ Watson backing up George Hill and not DJ Augistin. Hence, adding a few decent bench players (along with Scola and Copeland).

    • antistratfordian - Oct 10, 2013 at 6:56 PM

      They’re about to ride into the Granger zone. That’s not a good thing.

      An improved Hibbert and George are still not good enough.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 10, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        Good enough to beat the Knicks again unless Amare gets healthy and Chandler stays healthy.

  8. abnparatrooper - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    PROBASKETBALLPUNDIT is right. The pacers are expected to take a leap forward. They added 3 important pieces to their bench ( which was their Achilles heel last year) plus they should have Danny Granger back, hopefully at least close to his pre injury level. Next time you write an article make yourself look smart and actually read over what you just said before we can read it.

  9. katra2logic - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Methinks Indiana took a step forward if anything. The HEAT are at least as good as they were last year plus have the extra confidence from being the (2x) champs. Everyone knows Rose is legit. No way NY gets by Miami, Indiana and Chicago. Have to watch a few games in the new season but I would pick the Nets ahead of the Knicks at this moment.

    • katra2logic - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      1 Miami
      2 Indiana
      3 Chicago
      4 Nets
      5 Knicks So #5 seed and out in the first or second round.

    • redbaronx - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      @katra2logic – I don’t think it is a given that the Heat are as good as they were last year. They have some vet shoes to fill, and they also have to beware of complacency. A three-peat is not easy as the Lakers just demonstrated a couple of years ago. Lose a Lamar Odom here, A Phil Jackson there, and suddenly you’re trying to figure it all out again.

      My main question with the Heat is Wade. Is he too banged up to return to Wade form? So much of his game was his first step and speed and physicality. He hasn’t been himself in a couple of years now. So who knows if this is the downside of his career, or if he has another great season in him?

      I’m right with you on Indiana this season. They remind me of the Pistons in the 80′s. They work real hard and keep on bringing fresh guys off the bench who are capable. They have an above average coach. Everyone figures to be better than last year (with the exception of David West if he starts showing age issues). You can almost feel that they’re ready for the next step. We’ll see….

  10. zoomy123 - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Carmelo Anthony is going to end his career like Tracy McGrady. Part of the problem is that he never had the right complimentary players around him and NY’s salary cap situation is so f@cked up, he’ll probably never get any really good players around him until he’s almost out of his prime.

  11. antistratfordian - Oct 10, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    The Pacers are a tough group to have to lose to. They come across as smug, so eventually annoying. Early last year LeBron mentioned something about how they run their mouths a lot for a team that hasn’t done anything. Later Vogel saying that the Heat were “just the next team that’s in our way” didn’t help this perception of them.

    So I get why Melo is still irked by losing to them. Don’t want it to happen again? Step your game up.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 10, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      Hibbert’s Jamaican, and they are world class trash talkers. Carmelo’s got that Rican trash talking thing going, but it wasn’t nasty enough to put KG in his place.

    • pacers24 - Oct 11, 2013 at 6:50 AM

      is that why Lebron was so impressed with Paul George that he wanted to dap on the way to the bench during a timeout in that ECF series? sounds like there is mutual respect on both sides of Miami and Indiana

      and that Vogel comment was taken waaay outta context, he didn’t say it so casually like that. try to stop talking outta yer arse! lol

      and the knicks will never be a good enough team to beat Indiana, Chicago, or Miami in the playoffs.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        LeBron & George is a different thing – they get along. It’s kind of similar to LeBron & Rondo being cool amidst the hatred between the Heat and Garnett-Pierce.

        It mostly stems from Granger and Hibbert and initially Stephenson, although the Stephenson thing seems to be water under the bridge now. David West was initially defiant but after the series last year he took the high road. But Hibbert has taken a hard line approach. He’s salty.

  12. pistolpete0903 - Oct 13, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Yo homie…..you better work on your defense first.
    For all the talk about Anthony being a superstar, he needs to put his weight around on defense. As good as he is on offense, he is equally putrid on the other end. You want to be the leader, set it by example.

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