The New York Knicks need to have a must-win attitude in tonight’s Game 6 playoff matchup against the Boston Celtics, but a great deal of their fate rests on the shoulders of star forward and this year’s leading scorer, Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony carried the Knicks from start to finish during the regular season, averaging an NBA-best 28.7 points per game while also posting 6.9 rebounds, shooting 45 percent from the field, and 38 percent from downtown. He got off to an extremely hot start over the first three games of New York’s series with the Celtics, averaging 32 points per game while making 46 percent of his attempts from the field and 50 percent from long range.
But Anthony has gotten himself into a funk over his team’s last two games. Rather than both drive the lane and create off the dribble, not to mention be lights-out from downtown, it’s been incredibly difficult for him to produce consistently. He’s averaging 29 points per game over that stretch, but he is shooting just 30.5 percent from the field and has not sunk one three-pointer.
This means that in tonight’s game, head coach Mike Woodson needs to ensure that Anthony and his teammates don’t try and shoot their way out of trouble. Instead of hoping that the three-point and mid-range attack will magically return, the scoring attack needs to be adjusted accordingly and include multiple drives to the basket. Yes, Boston has good size in the form of Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass, but the team cannot be intimidated by them and drawing fouls must be a priority.
On Anthony’s end, he must constantly mix up his attack. If his jumpers aren’t falling, he needs to try and make layups and also not be afraid to play a low-post game. Defensively, he must be a great rebounder so that the brunt of the interior work does not fall on the shoulders of Tyson Chandler.
Simply put, the man needs to do it all tonight. New York has come too far to let a trip to the Conference Semifinals slip away, but it’s up to Anthony to lead the charge so that the Knicks can take that next step. That means being in MVP form tonight and showing that he is more than just a big name.