x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

New York Knicks missing on a star in NBA play-offs against Indiana Pacers

Carmelo Anthony's shooting touch needs to reappear in the nick of time, writes Steve Dilbeck.

As goes Carmelo Anthony, right, so goes the New York Knicks, and right now Anthony is not having the best play-off series against Indiana Pacers.
As goes Carmelo Anthony, right, so goes the New York Knicks, and right now Anthony is not having the best play-off series against Indiana Pacers.

The New York Knicks are in trouble, which by now should be a familiar concept.

They are having trouble finding any offence and are down 2-1 in their play-off series with the Indiana Pacers.

They play Game 4 on Tuesday night at Indiana and desperately need to steal a road victory.

"We're going to need everybody playing Tuesday night on all cylinders," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "We don't want to go back down 3-1. That would be a tough climb for us."

To avoid it, they are going to have to score more than the 71 weak points they managed against the Pacers in Game 3.

"We can't beat nobody scoring 71 points," Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said.

Yet if the Knicks are going to rally back to take their best-of-seven Eastern Conference series from the Pacers, it will likely have to be Anthony who leads them.

And it is not something he has excelled at in the past.

Anthony won an NCAA championship with Syracuse as a freshman and then turned pro.

He screamed winner. In his 10th NBA season, he has advanced to the play-offs every season.

Yet this is only the second time he has led his team past the first round.

Anthony is coming off a fine NBA regular season, winning his first scoring title. Yet the play-offs have seemed a struggle for the shooting forward. He shot 45.6 per cent during the regular season, but in the post-season is shooting only 39.1 per cent.

Worse, he almost disappeared in the fourth quarter of the Knicks' 82-71 loss to the Pacers on Saturday. In the final quarter, the only two points he scored came from the free-throw line. The league's leading scorer took only three shots.

"I was not really aware of that," he said.

The Knicks were less than thrilled about it, with Woodson saying: "I'm not OK with him taking three shots. He's got to take more shots."

Players in the NBA are ultimately judged by how they perform in the post-season. As much as the Knicks need to move on - this is the first time they advanced in the post-season in 12 years - Anthony may need it even more.

The Knicks do not have a lot of firepower and have to walk that fine line between having Anthony do more without him trying to do too much.

"I don't want it to be a one-man show," Woodson said.

Yet with Tyson Chandler, JR Smith and Jason Kidd all struggling offensively - the Knicks are shooting 41.8 per cent as a team - the Knicks are naturally looking to Anthony to lead them back against Indiana. No one knows it better than him.

"I'll make my adjustment," Anthony said.

 

sports@thenational.ae

 

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE