While the world has finally been spared from the incessant “Where’s Carmelo going” talk, one has to wonder where are all the Knicks jerseys featuring Anthony’s name and number? Currently, and granted, this will change drastically by tomorrow (or tonight, even), there’s absolutely nothing about the Carmelo Anthony trade anywhere on the official site for the Knicks, nor at their online store, either. The reason this is met with some surprise when you compare the NBA’s reaction time to the NFL’s — that is, an hour in relation to Brett Favre being traded to the New York Jets — the lack of Anthony jerseys is somewhat surprising.
Maybe the Knicks organization doesn’t want to believe the news is true.
One thing there isn’t a lack of, however, is an avalanche of analysis concerning the Carmelo-to-the-Knicks trade, something the Google News timeline demonstrates quite nicely:
LeBron James makes a “Defensive Player of the Year” kind of living chasing fast-breaking players down and swatting their weak layup offerings into the middle of next. Well, during last night’s epic duel between James and Carmelo Anthony, Melo displayed a pretty surefire method in avoiding such nonsense: By dunking the hell out of ball when you see LeBron catching up to you from behind.
And hey, it worked. Food for thought: Denver beat Cleveland by two points in overtime. Now imagine if LeBron blocks Melo’s shot. Does that mean double-overtime would’ve been warranted? Good thing for Denver fans Anthony didn’t leave it up to chance.
Oh, and that jump shot Anthony hit to give Denver the win was simply dirty.
In this case, I prefer the still-image to the video. Fantastic freeze-frame.
If you can’t tell, I’m so happy the NBA is back. Plays like these only confirm the love. Oh, and I wasn’t aware Carmelo could get up like that. While it’s mega, MEGA early, there are some trends already starting to develop — or continue from where they left off last season. One of those being the effectiveness of the Denver Nuggets offense. Granted, I don’t think they are quite ready to dethrone Kobe and the Lakers, but as of today, they do look like the second best team in the West, although, San Antonio might take issue with that declaration.
My issue with San Antonio has more to do with durability than it does talent.
All things being equal, I’d expect both Denver and the Spurs to battle for the second seed in the West. And hey, you never know, if the Lakers falter, both teams will be right there to take their spot.
Yes, basketball is in its “downtime” period, but thanks to joy of YouTube — not to mention, a million Steven Spielberg wanna-bes running around — combined with various basketball summer camps, the NBA’s summer league and some pro-am leagues of note, there’s always footage to share. This time, we have video from one of Michael Jordan’s youth camps. In it, Jordan is introducing a shooting drill, one that’s in the vein of the NBA’s Shooting Stars competition. Notice I use the word “competition,” because what would a Michael Jordan story be without mentioning his famous “will to win?” Such is the case here when Jordan invited guest Carmelo Anthony to take part in the shooting contest.
Naturally, Jordan won — no dunks here, LeBron — by relying on a spot just inside the college three-point line where made baskets counted for more points. Ever the eye for the spotlight, no matter its size, Jordan made four-in-a-row from his sweet spot, giving his team the win.
Did the Game 1 loss take Denver’s confidence away or is going to give them resolve going forward? A two-point loss in a playoff game you could’ve/should’ve won can be absolutely debilitating for a team’s confidence, but it doesn’t sound like the Nuggets are hanging their head — at least Chauncey Billups isn’t:
“I’m disappointed, but I’m not mad,” Billups said at his locker stall, preaching calm and then staying calm when Smith and rookie Sonny Weems swiped his license.
“We’re fine, man. We’ll have other opportunities.”
Apparently, the Nuggets’ locker room is loose enough to entertain practical jokes directed at team leaders, which, to me, is more telling than Billups’ statements. Of course, talking a good game and playing like your confidence is still intact are two different things. While players like Billups and Martin have been on the big NBA stage before, the rest of Denver’s nucleus has not.
Yes, Carmelo Anthony has played in some huge games in his basketball career — Final Four at Syracuse; the Olympics — they haven’t been in the NBA Playoffs or against a player like Kobe Bryant. One thing is for certain, if Denver wants to stay in the series, they would be wise to avoid the mindset of one Woody Paige.
It was a great Game 1 between Denver and Los Angeles. Just about everything an NBA Playoff person could ask for. Stupendous offensive performances by two of the league’s best players. Lead changes. Rough, but not dirty play. Drama. The list continues. Unfortunately, when the game came down to winning time — or in the Nuggets case, tie the game time — a poor coaching decision helped determine the outcome.
When Anthony Carter through the now-infamous pass to Trevor Ariza — Surprise! He plays for the other team! — it culminated a questionable strategy by Karl for sticking with him to begin with, let alone allowing one of the smaller players on the floor to inbound the ball against a taller defender.
Bill Simmons didn’t like the move. I didn’t either. Of course, there are no certainties here. Denver could’ve missed whatever game-tying shot they took, but the coaching decision that was made prevented them from even finding out.
In Karl’s defense, he didn’t have too much of a choice concerning Anthony Carter considering how poorly J.R. Smith was performing. With that in mind, I don’t think I’d be too trustworthy of Dahntay Jones in such a position either.
Then there’s the case of Denver’s missed free throws (23-35).
Nevertheless, Denver still had a chance to tie the game and if someone besides Carter throws the ball in — someone like Carmelo, perhaps — the game still might be going on. I’m guess it would be in its 20th overtime for that to happen, but one can dream, can’t one? For that, the responsibility falls directly on the head coach, who can actually control which player inbounds the ball.
It was a longer wait than expected, especially where Los Angeles is concerned, but this year’s conference finals match ups are set. After almost choking away their chances — and their coach’s next season — the Orlando Magic righted themselves and dethroned the defending champions. The Magic hit their stride in their final two games against Boston, as well as their 3s, and look like an honest-to-goodness challenge for the LeBron Train, one that’s been chilling out since they dispatched the Atlanta Hawks in short order.
Aside: Orlando’s series-saving play has inspired some local journalists to issue apologies to Stan Van Gundy.
Busy weekend for the NBA. At least two of the four playoff battles currently underway will go to a Game 6, if not further. Granted, Denver and Cleveland look like they are in a class by themselves; although, one could argue Cleveland is by themselves — we’ll call it the LeBron class — while the Denver Nuggets look like the best team in the West. Does this mean you should pencil the Nuggets versus the Cavaliers as your NBA Finals series? In regards to Cleveland, the answer is a definite “probably,” and it’s moving quickly to the “I guarantee it” department. As for the Nuggets, they are, in all likelihood, still going to have to go through Kobe and the gang to advance; although, Houston — even without Yao — is doing their best to alter that storyline.