Playoff Putbacks: Carmelo’s keys to dominance
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
In the most high-profile game of the opening day of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, Carmelo Anthony led the New York Knicks to an 85-78 victory over the Boston Celtics, scoring 36 points. However, the victory wasn’t as easy as it could have been, mostly because Anthony went away from what’s made him one of the most dangerous scorers in the league this season.
Anthony is at his best when he attacks the basket and runs pick-and-rolls with Tyson Chandler, who was a complete non-factor on Saturday. A look at the distribution of Anthony’s shots during the regular season as compared to his shot selection in game one is telling.
Here’s where Anthony has been taking his shots during the season:
And here’s what he did against the Celtics:
Unlike most shooters, Anthony has had more success shooting three-pointers above the break than from the corners. Five of his three-point attempts on Saturday came in those areas, and he shot 4-for-5 on those. The biggest difference between this game and his season was that he was unable to get to the rim or the foul line. He shot six free throws, which is below his season average of 7.6, and only took four shots inside the restricted area.
After taking the first game at home, the Knicks are on track to beat the Celtics in this series. However, it’ll be much easier if Anthony plays to his strengths. His 36 points weren’t a surprise. The 29 shots he took to reach that number were, and it’s something that can easily be avoided. If he stops settling for mid-range isolations and starts attacking the basket and making use of Chandler’s incomparable finishing ability, the Knicks will be nearly unbeatable.
Honoring Boston at MSG: Following the capture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it was an emotional day for the city of Boston, something the rest of the country knew all too well. The Celtics wore patches on their jerseys honoring the first responders and law-enforcement members who risked their lives in the aftermath of the tragedy. Anthony and Celtics forward Paul Pierce addressed … [For more on Playoff Putbacks: Carmelo's keys to dominance, click here.]