Dec 18, 2013, 11:45 AM EST
That question has dominated discussion since the game ended, but perhaps a different question would deal with a more significant issue?
Should Melo have been the Knick shooting?
First of all, better him than anyone else in a vacuum. At that point – timeout or no timeout – New York was unlikely to generate a good shot. No Knick is more capable of creating a good shot in that situation or making a bad one than Melo.
But Melo’s task gets a lot tougher when everyone, including the other team, knows he’s going to shoot.
“We knew Carmelo probably is not going to pass it,” said Martell Webster, who had a team-high 30 points. “The fact that we closed in on him, that’s big. Usually teams will play that 1-on-1. We don’t want to give him a clear look at the basket. Made him take a fallaway off one foot. We’ll live with that. Defensively, we were getting burned but we made the adjustment on the fly.”
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This is why crunch-time offenses are so ineffective.
Teams abandon the tactics – passing, screening – they use earlier in games because they know they lead to better offense. Instead, teams rely on isolation plays from their top scorers.
That doesn’t work when the opponent knows what’s coming. Just look how the Wizards draped themselves over Melo.
Even had he passed the Knicks probably still would have lost, though I think their odds of winning would have been slightly better. Melo is an asset because he draws that much attention, but if he’s going to shoot no matter what, that advantage is greatly reduced.
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