Carmelo Anthony had one of the best offensive performances that the NBA has seen in quite a while on Friday as the New York Knicks demolished the Charlotte Bobcats. His 62 points came on terrific 23-35 shooting from the field and he also added 13 rebounds on the night. His scoring output was the best in a single game in Knicks history and in the history of Madison Square Garden.
While I don’t mean to take anything away from Melo’s performance, which was masterful at the least, his monster night also had a great deal to do with the Bobcats defense at the forward position. It didn’t matter who Charlotte threw at Anthony, he would annihilate them. Much of that has to deal with Anthony being on a roll, it also highlights a weakness of the Bobcats’ that teams have been exploiting lately.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was matched up on Melo often when he was on the floor, but early foul trouble limited his minutes in the first half and the game was pretty much out of reach at that point. That led to power forwards Josh McRoberts and Cody Zeller—and a dose of Anthony Tolliver—with the task of stopping Melo, which we all see how that ended up.
Both McRoberts and Zeller have been pretty terrible defensively this season. Per 82games.com, Zeller is giving up 20 points and 10.9 rebounds per 48 minutes to his matchup at the four this year while McRoberts is surrendering 19 points and 11.6 boards per 48 minutes to his matchup at power forward.
Anthony’s outburst isn’t even the only time this week that Charlotte has been killed at the power forward. On Wednesday, Blake Griffin put up 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists against the Bobcats. Sure, Charlotte escaped with a victory, but it was no thanks to their ability to contain Griffin.
Charlotte is clearly an improved defensive team this season, even if their offense is still coming around overall. However, one area where it’s becoming clear that they have a hole is at the power forward position defensively. With the NBA Trade Deadline nearing, you have to wonder if the Bobcats are going to stand pat or try to make a move that will help sure up their defense at the position. Time will tell.