Carmelo’s struggles hurt Knicks in Game 1
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK – If the lone mystery voter in the media who deemed the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony the most valuable player ahead of the Miami Heat’s LeBron James didn’t see why their pick was wrong before tipoff at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon, then they surely had to see it afterward.
The Indiana Pacers picked apart the Knicks and this anonymous argument that ‘Melo has reached that sort of elite status in their Game 1 win in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, holding him to 10 of 28 shooting on his 27-point night in which foul trouble and the relentless rotation of Pacers big men were too much to overcome.
And unless the league’s leading scorer finds a way to turn this inefficient tide soon – like, say, Game 2 of the series on Tuesday – then the Knicks fans who spent so much of Sunday celebrating the team’s first trip to the second round of the playoffs since 2000 won’t be cheering for long. The boos, for the record, finally rained down near the end of the third quarter on Sunday, when Anthony had hit just six of 17 shots, been limited to four minutes in the period because of the fouls, and the Pacers entered the fourth quarter with a 16-point lead.
“They’re being really physical with ‘Melo,” Knicks point guard Raymond Felton said. “They’re banging him, they’re hitting him, they’re going at his (ailing left) shoulder…They are being physical, but he is going to be fine and we are going to be fine.”
This is no new trend, mind you, as Anthony is now shooting 37.8% in seven playoffs games against the Boston Celtics and Pacers and 26.3% from three-point range while averaging 28.9 points per game. He has shot 31.8% in the past four games (35 of 110) while hitting just 2 of his past 20 three-pointers.
Indiana poses a tougher challenge than most, as he shot 37.9% overall and 23.5% from three-point range against them in three regular season games (two of them Knicks wins). The Pacers’ plan to slow Anthony starts with Pacers small … [For more on Carmelo Anthony's struggles hurt Knicks in Game 1 loss, click here.]