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The Extra Pass: Carmelo Anthony calls his string of stellar performances ‘pointless’ after latest crushing loss

Feb 25, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Carmelo Anthony Getty Images

NEW YORK – The Knicks seem intent on finding new ways to lose basketball games, the most recent one coming in crushing fashion Monday night at the buzzer against the Mavericks.

But the constant losing and the team’s abysmal record truly have nothing to do with Carmelo Anthony.

Dallas gave back all of an eight-point lead it possessed with 1:37 remaining, and Anthony’s three to tie it capped an effort of more than 40 points for the third time in his last four games. He did everything possible yet again for this Knicks team — including playing excellent defense against Dirk Nowitzki on the game’s final possession — only to see his opponent’s shot bank and bounce home as time expired.

Anthony finished with 44 points on 29 shots, one make away from shooting better than 50 percent from the field for a fourth straight game, and added nine rebounds and four assists in almost 42 minutes of action. But nothing he does seems to be enough to save this Knicks team from loss after difficult loss.

“Melo has been our most consistent player all year,” Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said afterward. “There’s no doubt about that. The way he’s played, it’s a damn shame that we’re in the position we’re in because our team doesn’t deserve it, and he definitely does not deserve the position that we’re in based on how he has played.”

He absolutely doesn’t.

For the third straight game, Anthony was the type of unstoppable force offensively that makes you understand why teams will be lining up with offers at or near a max contract if he chooses to leave New York in free agency. He is one of the game’s elite pure scorers, capable of bombing shots from three-point distance at a high enough percentage, even while defended, to keep his team within reach.

Anthony is a combined 17-of-30 from beyond the arc over his last three games, all increasingly painful losses. It took double overtime before New York fell in Orlando, in a game where Anthony scored 44 points and played 50 minutes. And then in Atlanta the very next night, Anthony dropped in 35 points on 52 percent shooting, only to see his team blow a 17-point lead, and fall apart in the second half by surrendering 68 points over the game’s final 24 minutes.

Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the building was electric as the Knicks staged their furious late-game comeback, and the feeling was that this time, they may just have enough to push themselves over the winning edge. But Anthony couldn’t get a shot off with Vince Carter defending and the game tied, losing his handle a bit before being forced to swing it to J.R. Smith for a desperation heave as the shot clock expired.

“I think I gave up a decent shot,” Anthony said of his final possession. “The first time I had it, Vince was on me, and I figured we’re at home, I can try to get to the rack and get a foul or a closer shot. I didn’t want to pull up for the three, but that’s what I should have done. I should have just pulled up for the three and just took that chance.”

When Nowitzki’s shot dropped home on the ensuing possession to send the Knicks to another loss, Anthony stood on the court for several seconds afterward, thinking about all he had done in this one and has been doing for his team all season long, only to see anything but the desired result.

“It’s just like a needle in a balloon right there,” Anthony said of the feeling he had when he saw the ball go through the basket. “It sucks all of the air out of you.”

“That shot right there, I felt like I couldn’t do nothing more, nothing better,” he said. “He hit a tough shot, and we had a chance to get a better shot than we did when we had the ball. It was just a lot of that going on, and an accumulation of us losing the game. I was just trying to take all of that in.”

It was a lot to deal with in that moment, but Anthony hasn’t been at all to blame for his team’s lack of success. And yet, his stellar string of high-scoring performances comes as little consolation.

“It’s pointless,” he said. “Pointless. It is tough. You score 40, 44, 44, 44 — all losses. You kind of ask yourself, is it worth it? But I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing. You can believe that.”

As Anthony walked out of the Knicks locker room, he was asked for additional clarification — even though any competitor playing at the game’s highest level would have been able to predict his response.

“You’re losing,” Anthony said. “Scoring all of that and taking Ls, I’ll take the W with 10 points.”

  1. aboogy123456 - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    Where are all the people who want to criticize Anthony and say that he’s not a team player and all he cares about are his stats?

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      We don”t need to. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Here are the playoff winning percentages of Melo and some of his peers:

      Carmelo Anothy .338%
      Michael Jordan .665%
      Shaqfu .601%
      Larry Bird .604%
      Tim Duncan .631%
      Magic Johnson .740%
      Kareem Jabbar .650%
      Kobe Bryant .606% (LESS than Shaq’s by the way)

      Bill Russell .648% (he of 11 titles has a LOWER playoff winning % than MJ)

      Melo is in his 11th season in the NBA. So he’s had 10 cracks at a title so far and hasn’t come within sniffing distance of one.

      LBJ is in his 11st season too as he came into the league the same year Melo did.

      Melo HAS had a chance to change (force his way to) teams.

      The proof of the pudding is that a team with Melo as the number 1 option is NOT going to win a title.

      At this point in his career and looking forward, I don’t see Melo finishing with a playoff winning percentage of .500. He currently has 22 wins and 43 losses in all playoff games.

      I’m NOT talking about JUST this season’s Knicks team but his ENTIRE career.

      When Melo retires, he’ll have a lot of points, a terrible playoff winning percentage (it’s basically ALREADY set now folks) and no titles with HIM as the #1 banana.

      Now, Melo can get a title or three if he rides a true #1 banana’s coattails…

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:21 AM

        Oops, Kobe’s playoff winning percentage is a tad better than Shaqfu’s. My mistake folks.

        Sorry about that. Hate incorrect facts.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        your post is missing one HUGE flaw, basketball is a TEAM sport. The fact that Melo even made the playoffs last year is impressive. Did you actually expect him to beat the pacers who were much more talented? Did you actually expect him to beat the lakers when they came across them in the west every year? Blaming team stats on an individual player shows you don’t understand the game of basketball.

        Also, you seem to compare lebron to anthony in every post. Lebron is the best player in the league. It’s possible to be a great player and not be nearly as good as lebron.

      • pbtunpaidwriter - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        74% for Magic is off the chain

      • cruzan80 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        sportsfan7

        It’s also very cute how you choose your examples to make another “I hate Melo” point. You use players like Magic, Bird & Kareem who called his “peers” but conveniently leave off other great players like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol who all went the majority of their careers with awful playoff win percentages. You left them off because all those players did eventually win titles once the became a part of better TEAMS….which completely throws your silly point out the window.

        There will be a line at Melo’s door come July 1st & that is because most NBA GM’s don’t go by the same logic you do.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        Cruzan80

        I did emphasize ENTIRE career when I spoke of Melo.

        Melo’s career playoff winning % .338%

        Now for the, let me use YOUR words, “awful playoff win percentages”.

        Paul Pierce career playoff winning % .529% and a title

        Kevin Garnett career playoff winning % .507% and a title

        Pau Gasol career playoff winning % .509% and 2 titles

        Thanks for playing. I said career. I did NOT just use Melo’s Knicks playoff winning percentage, I used his ENTIRE career.

        Melo had a chance to change teams, he went where he WANTED to go.

        Melo won’t sniff these “awful” career playoff winning percentages (of the guys you mentioned).

        Melo would LOVE to have their “awful” career playoff winning percentages… plus at least one title like each of them has… since he has ZERO.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:20 PM

        hey ya’ll…

        Melo is a shrinking violet in the playoffs too… maybe that’s why he loses 2 playoff games for everyone his teams win…

        In his 21 playoff games with the Knicks, he’s shooting an incredible .404% from the field.

        Ouch!

        In his 21 playoff games with the Knicks, he’s shooting an incredible .297% from 3 pt land.

        damn! no wonder they paint the rims at halftime of his home playoff games…

        For all his career playoff games, he’s shooting .417% from the field.

        THAT just doesn’t cut it folks… he shoots much less in the playoffs than he does in the regular season (no worries, so does Kobe too, by a lot just like MeBrick does).

    • chicagosports2014 - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      I feel you Carmelo, dam!

  2. ranoversquarells - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

  3. ryanaammess - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Fire Woodson. Sign and trade Melo this offseason and start over. Maybe Dragic, Len and 2 first rounders. Let Chandler and Amare walk next year and try to get a star to go with the picks in 2016. I really think Thibs ends up in NY when his deals up.

  4. sdelmonte - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    I think he’d be a fool to stay here. The choice is either be the big star on a bad team, or the Pippen to someone else’s Jordan and have a great shot at a ring or two. For him to re-sign and to then hope that the Dolans find some way to get players to complement him in ’15 would be nuts.

  5. fm31970 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    “Anthony was the type of unstoppable force offensively that makes you understand why teams will be lining up with offers at or near a max contract if he chooses to leave New York”

    When can now officially change “if” to “when.”

  6. azarkhan - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    It was amusing watching the Knicks miss one 3 after another with about 3 minutes left in the game the Knicks only down by 6. They play real smart basketball in New York.

  7. phillysports1 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Lol .

  8. raiderdan69 - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Dragic, len and 2 first rounders for an unrestricted free agent melo? hahahahahahaha knicks fans make my day they really do hahaha

  9. nokoolaidcowboy - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Hey, but JR is having fun with sneaker laces and headbands!

    Carmelo, run far and run wide! Dolan is the boss so this atmosphere not going to change any time soon.

  10. mackcarrington - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Melo is doing what he is paid to do.
    Score.
    You want him to do everything else too?

  11. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Every Knicks fan knows how much he loves that elbow 3 pointer with time winding down. He didnt think there is a scouting report on that shot which is why Vince didnt bite on it. A great game ruined by one play….

  12. unxpexted1 - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    I’m not a huge Melo fan but i respect his talent. But seriously, what type of championship caliber roster’s has he been a part of? When have you ever looked at a team surrounding Melo and been like “this team is the favorite.” Don’t get me wrong a great player should elevate his team, and one can argue that he has been able to do that.

    Do you remember how stacked the West used to be “and still is” when carmelo was losing in the first round. Losing to the suns, lakers, spurs etc is no crime. Not like they were one seeds and losing to inferior squads. he’s been to the playoffs every year. His career reminds me of KG’s. Taking a team to the playoffs and only really advancing once until being traded to BOS. I’d just love to see what Carmelo could be with a good team around him.

  13. velocirep - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Revelation came too late brah, If you’d taken 5 less shots/game with Denver & prided yourself on playing decent D you had a window.

    The pecking order for championships for the rest of your career are ordered James, KD, PGeorge and CP3. All who play team first ball and play notable D.

    Use the summer to see if you could get on one of their teams as 2nd option, otherwise rack up scoring titles

  14. ialto85 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    La La’s honeynut Cheerios pussy won’t let him leave NYC

  15. borderline1988 - Feb 25, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    I don’t think Melo is as bad as people think…he is what he is, a great scorer. But here’s the lesson to be learned regarding the Knicks:

    Signing guys with past character issues is a risky thing. Signing multiple guys with character issues to one team – disastrous.

    Guys like JR Smith, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin, Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani…they all have character questions. If you think you’re going to win when 75% of your rotation are made up of guys like that, you’re nuts.

    Chandler, Shumpert and Carmelo are the only players with value in my opinion. The others are good bench players, but only on the right team that can handle them.

    • unxpexted1 - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      Right the problems arent those particular players, just having thos players ALL on one team. Denver’s team was the same way. Was a team with melo, AI, Kenyon and JR Smith really going anywhere? Like the band of misfits.

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        How quickly we forget the original BAD BOYZ: Detroit Pistons circa Bill Laimbeer. They had great success because they were top tier players, unlike everyone on the Knicks save Carmelo and Chandler. The rest are either has-beens or 2nd tier. You don’t win championships with that in this league. Not even close.

  16. sensiblevoice - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    To all those talking about how Carmelo can’t be a number 1 option, have we ever seen him play with a decent number 2 or even number 3?

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:34 PM

      On Carmelo’s Syracuse Univ. NCAA champion team, we did.

  17. velocirep - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    2010

    50 win season (in the west)
    Billups
    Afflalo
    Nene
    Bird man
    Gallinari
    Lawson
    Jr smith
    Harrington
    Felton
    Martin
    Mosgov
    Etc.

    Give that roster to a true number 1 and he’ll make a deep run with it. Not a first round exit.
    True number 1’s have the ability to inspire good players and will them through crucial games.
    Melo has never done that but has had ample opportunity

  18. spillz121 - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Lol, you do realize that he was traded FOR Felton, gallinari, and mosgov and never played with them, or maybe you don’t ……otherwise, nice roster lol

  19. velocirep - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Ha, my fault or blame the basketball reference site, they had them listed.

    I checked it out because I remember they had a stacked injury free team and they flubbed.

    Either way, minus those guys and add Wilson chandler who was playing solid ball, bird man was at his defensive best, billups was still a big shot, Felton was at his best and the point still stands. Melo had enough help to get past the 2nd round plus they had a proven, great coach in Karl.

    Give that roster to someone in his pay rate, a Lebron or Kobe. It may just be a hypothetical thought but I think most would agree they would’ve gotten the job done.

  20. velocirep - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    *Lawson was playing back up pg

  21. velocirep - Feb 25, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Also last years knicks had no excuse

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      yes they did. they had Melo as their number 1 player.

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