All-Star Carmelo Anthony had one of his better floor games of the season in the New York Knicks‘ 108-81 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. Not known for being a facilitator, Anthony dished out a season-high eight assists in only 32 minutes of action. Interestingly enough, all of his assists were to either J.R. Smith (five) or Tyson Chandler (three).
The Knicks now have a modest two-game win streak to their name, and played with much more energy than they exhibited during the last time they were at Madison Square Garden, where they got trampled by the Golden State Warriors. In order for New York to have any chance of sneaking back in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, they will need the 10-year vet out of Syracuse to continue sharing the ball.
The Knicks are still five games out of the eight spot, however, the team they are chasing, the Atlanta Hawks, are on a free-fall, having lost four games in a row and 12 out of their last 13. In fact, New York’s schedule for the rest of this month is soft, so it’s possible a playoff run is on the horizon.
Criticism of Anthony’s game argue that he is a ball stopper and the offense gets stagnant and cluttered with him on your team. One aspect that has never been criticized has been his scoring ability, and that was certainly on display by scoring 29 points on 10-19 shooting. Utah was on their fifth game of their current six game road trip, and they looked completely disinterested in this one, getting outscored by 17 points in the first quarter.