The other day, when asked what was New York’s feeling on Carmelo Anthony being traded to the Knicks I answered that fans were split into three groups. The first group was pro-Melo, tend to think of him as an elite NBA player, and the best clutch scoring swingman the team has had since Bernard King. The second group was anti-Melo, who saw him as an overrated scorer who didn’t address the team’s needs. And the third group was somewhere in between. They see him as a great player, but not the final link that would bring a championship home to the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony’s Knick debut was perhaps all of these.
From a traditional statistical view, Melo had a good night, scoring 27 points and snaring 10 rebounds. With 1:18 to go and Amar’e Stoudemire on the bench with 6 fouls, Melo scored 6 of the team’s final 10 points including an offensive rebound. On the other hand, Anthony needed 25 shots to accomplish his goal and made a couple of defensive gaffs. During one possession in the first half, Carmelo didn’t appear to be guarding anybody. Although the team won, it wasn’t a convincing win. New York barely defeated an inferior Bucks team at home. Clearly they aren’t ready for prime time, yet.
* Toney Douglas and Chauncey Billups dominated the game. They combined for 44 points on just 24 shots. Douglas pressured the Bucks and despite only having 2 steals he was constantly prodding the ball away from Milwaukee. Meanwhile Billups made all 12 of his free throw attempts, and added 8 assists. He seemed comfortable pushing the ball up the floor, and didn’t seem to be bothered by D’Antoni’s fast pace.
* The Knicks only missed 2 free throws, going 26-28 for the night.
* After his 6th foul, Stoudemire threw his glasses on the court in disgust. The officials saw the gesture, which earned him his 15th technical foul.
* The Knicks offense didn’t appear to be anything close to what D’Antoni normally runs. Carmelo got his fair share of iso and post up opportunities. The pick & roll was rarely seen. There’s a thought that D’Antoni will have to adjust his offense for Anthony, but most likely tonight’s version was more due to a team that hasn’t practiced together than what will be the final version.
* In the “I told you so” column, Renaldo Balkman was not active for the game. Although he’s one of my favorite players to watch, I don’t see a lot of minutes in his Knick future.