Facing a 3-0 series deficit along with terrible play through the first three games in the series, Carmelo Anthony had no choice but to put on a primetime performance on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. More importantly, the New York Knicks avoided elimination for at least two more days. As the series shifts back to Miami, can New York make this into a series?
After shooting 33% through the first three games, you had to think it was only a matter of time before Anthony broke out. And he broke out in a big way. Anthony dropped 41 points on LeBron James, Shane Battier, and the Miami Heat. This game was physical with 54 fouls being called and two players fouling out. New York endured a long scoring drought that lasted the first 5:15 of the second quarter. New York went into halftime down by six points. In the previous three games, the Knicks endured long scoring droughts and previous games ended up getting away from them, but it was different today. Like I mentioned earlier, the Knicks didn’t score for five minutes but their defense played well enough to keep the game within reach, giving up only 12 points during that stretch.
Eventually the offense came around in the second half, with Anthony scoring 23 of his 41 points after the break. He was efficient from the field (15-29) and made shots when it mattered. Neither James nor Battier could stop him today. It also helps when Amar’e Stoudemire is able to give you 20 points and 10 rebounds despite battling foul trouble the entire game.
For the Heat, James finished with 27 points on 9-21 shooting, four rebounds and four assists. His teammates, Dwyane Wade, had 22 points and made an impact defensively with four steals and three blocks.
Mike Bibby revived The Garden with a huge three-pointer with 1:23 left, giving the Knicks an 84-81 lead. James responded for Miami by drilling a three-pointer of his own. Anthony responded to that three-pointer with a three-pointer of his own, despite great defense by Battier. James responded a few possessions later with a three-point play that brought Miami to within one point. Stoudemire made one of two free-throws putting the Knicks up two points with 14 seconds left. Wade missed a game-winner on a broken-play on the game’s final possession.
All of a sudden, the Knicks have some life. Even though they are still down 3-1 in the series, they aren’t going down without a fight.
Just look at Stoudemire’s hand.