The New York Knicks were able to topple the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, 87-77. They did so without their superstar forward Carmelo Anthony, who was resting with soreness in his right knee. In the wake of the victory, many people were discussing the difference in how the Knicks played without Anthony.
One of the comparisons that people brought up was with the Boston Celtics and how they’ve played without Rajon Rondo. Both Melo and Rondo dominate the ball when their on the floor, which causes a lot of isolation plays or plays that end after just one pass.
In their game on Wednesday, the Knicks were able to rotate the ball more effectively, and made the extra pass more than they tend to do with Melo on the floor. Because of that, they were able to overcome a poor shooting performance — just 41.3 percent from the field — and take down the Pistons.
However, this is no reason to engage in hyperbole and say that the Knicks are better without Anthony on the floor. He is undeniably their best player, averaging a team-high 28.2 points per game, and adding 6.2 boards and 2.8 assists per contest as well.
More than that, he’s arguably the only consistent scoring-threat on the Knicks offense.
One of the things that stood out from the Detroit game is the fact that Raymond Felton had a game-high 26 points on 10-15 shooting from the field, and 4-5 shooting from beyond-the-arc. Though Felton is a talented point guard, there’s no way he’s going to be able to produce that efficiently and proficiently on a regular basis. It also can’t be forgotten that they were also playing against the Pistons, a team with a lowly 23-40 record this season.
The Knicks can’t survive without Melo on the floor. They rely too heavily upon his offensive ability on a nightly basis to succeed for him to be out for a long period of time. Wednesday night was more about New York being lucky that Felton was having a great game than it was about being able to win without Anthony on the floor.
The good news for the Knicks is that he’s not expected to miss much more time. If he were to, they wouldn’t be having many more games like they did on Wednesday.