Carmelo Anthony gets his groove back
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
Carmelo Anthony was widely ridiculed on Sunday. The controversy surrounding his one first-place MVP vote coincided with a terrible Game 1 performance in which he took 26 shots to score 27 points.
On Tuesday, we were treated to the version of Anthony that made the New York Knicks one of the most dangerous teams of the regular season.
Anthony scored 32 points on 13-of-26 shooting, and collected 11 rebounds. The Knicks lit up the Indiana Pacers’ league-best defense, tying the series at one game apiece with a 105-79 blowout win.
The Knicks have gone exactly as Anthony has gone in the 2013 playoffs. In their five wins so far (four against the Boston Celtics and Tuesday’s victory over the Pacers), he has shot 44.1% from the field and 40.7% from three-point range. In New York’s two losses to Boston and one loss to Indiana, he has shot 32.2% from the field and a staggeringly bad 6.3% from beyond the arc.
Anthony took better shots on Tuesday than he did in Sunday’s loss, settling for fewer contested jumpers and taking a more aggressive approach around the basket. He broke the slump that had plagued him the previous four games.
The Knicks lost home-court advantage on Sunday, and they still face an uphill battle to outduel Indiana’s defense for three of five games. However, if Melo is back to his normal self, it’s hard not to like their chances.
Durant spectacular again: Kevin Durant had another stellar night for the Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring 36 points on 11-of-21 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and 9 assists. He also had one of the most impressive dunks of the playoffs so far, showcasing his killer crossover.
Conley, too: The Memphis Grizzlies struggled to create offense late in the game, but had just enough to pull out a 93-91 win to tie the series with the Thunder. This was thanks in no small part to Mike Conley, who had a near triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.
Shumpin’ ain’t easy: Knicks guard Iman Shumpert had a headline-grabbing night, with a monster putback dunk … [For more on Playoff Putbacks: Carmelo Anthony gets his groove back, click here.]