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Knicks fans, do you realize with ‘Melo you get a lot of contested jumpers?

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Knicks fans are dreaming of Carmelo Anthony like children at Christmas — a top forward to put along side Amar’e Stoudemire and form two-thirds of the dynasty needed to beat the Heat and bring Willis Reed-like glory back to Madison Square Garden.

Except, can Anthony really do that?

No doubt he can put points up on the board, but is he elite as everyone thinks? Can he be that guy in New York? There are plenty of people who say no. He puts plenty of points on the board but he’s not efficient doing it (his shooting percentage hangs about the league average, whether you use traditional or advanced version of the stat). He scores a lot, but he takes a lot of shots to do it. More in the Iverson sense than the Kevin Durant sense.

But why is that? Why is ‘Melo not on the same level with Kobe and LeBron, the one Kevin Durant is leapfrogging Anthony to get to?

Because he takes too many contested shots.

That is the conclusion of Jeremy at Roundball Mining Company, who went deep into the tape (via Synergy Sports), charting shots for Carmelo, LeBron, Durant, Dwyane Wade, Kobe and even Kevin Martin. (You really need to go read the entire post, it is fantastic.)

What he found is that only 39 percent of ‘Melo’s shots are open (defender at least an arms length away), lowest of all the big names looked at. Kobe was at 42.3 percent (next lowest) while LeBron saw 53.9 percent of his shots with no hand in his face. Martin was at 69 percent.

As you might expect, players shot well on those open looks, with Anthony hitting 62.3 percent of his.

But that also means that 61 percent of Anthony’s shots were contested, and on those he shot just 31.5 percent. For comparison, Kobe hit 38 percent of his.

The lesson here is that Anthony does not fear shooting under duress, even though he’s not efficient at it. We can argue if that is Anthony or the system (although do you think George Karl tells him to do that or to move the ball?), but the fact remains one thing that holds him back from the next level is he shoots too many contested jumpers. He shoots with a hand in his face more than his contemporaries, and he doesn’t hit as many of them (well, Martin and Wade shot worse when contested, but still).

In a Mike D’Antoni system would that be different? The Nuggets certainly run, and Chauncey Billiups is better at getting the ball to the open men than Raymond Felton. Yet Anthony is still shooting the contested shots.

Until that changes — and his defense improves — he will be good but not one of the games two or three best. And that may not be good enough in New York.

Dwight Howard pushes Al Horford, gets technical, later ejected for hanging on rim

Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) drives past Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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It ended up working out for Atlanta — the Hawks went on a 22-11 run after Dwight Howard was ejected, then hung on for a comfortable win 114-98.

Still, Howard found a way to get tossed. He did it two separate technical fouls in the third quarter. The first came when he shoved Al Horford after the Celtic big fouled Howard under the basket (always a smart move rather than give up a dunk).

The next came a few minutes later when Howard slammed then pulled himself up like a pull-up on the rim, an automatic tech every time.

That’s technicals 10 and 11 on the season for Howard. He’s got some work to do to catch up with DeMarcus Cousins, but still he’s racked up a few.

It just didn’t matter on Monday, with Dennis Schroder leading the way with 21 points for the Hawks.

 

DeMar DeRozan drains game winner to cap 37-point night, Raptors beat Knicks 92-91

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With Kyle Lowry out until around the start of the playoffs, a lot is going to be asked of DeMar DeRozan. Monday night at Madison Square Garden, he delivered.

The Raptors needed a bucket as time ran down, not only got the ball to DeRozan but got the switch so Derrick Rose was guarding him, and that allowed the Raptors star to get to his spot, rise up and bury the midrange jumper for the win.

It capped off an impressive 37-point night for DeRozan — he’s going to need to do more of this in the coming weeks.

Kevin Hart rings bell before start of Sixers game vs. Warriors

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Golden State is in Philadelphia, and so are the celebrities.

Kevin Heart — a Philly native — was on hand and he got to ring the bell pregame (a Sixers tradition).

Having him on hand seems to help as the Sixers were hanging around through the middle of the third quarter with a team looking for its 50th win.

Bucks’ Michael Beasley has to be helped to locker room after apparently hyperextending knee

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 04:  Michael Beasley #9 of the Milwaukee Bucks in action against Mindaugas Kuzminskas #91 of the New York Knicks during their game at Madison Square Garden on January 4, 2017 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Let’s just hope this is nothing too serious.

Michael Beasley was getting back up court to try and defend a LeBron James drive to the basket early in the clock Monday night when he took an awkward step and appears to hyperextend his knee. You can see the video above. He tried to leave the floor under his own power but had to be helped back to the locker room by teammates.

The team is calling it a sprain for now.

Beasley has been solid off the bench for the Bucks this season, averaging 9.7 points a game with a and with a PER of 17.6 (above the league average). They would miss him in the rotation as they try to make a playoff push if he has to miss any time.