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.

Charles Barkley tells Shaq he had to ride the coattails of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley can sometimes get into it on TNT’s programming surrounding NBA games, but Tuesday night after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 4, 112-99, was something different.

The two got testy — even more so than usual — as Barkley and Shaq traded insults.

Most notably, O’Neal went after the fact that Barkley only once made the NBA Finals, while Chuck told Shaq he had to ride the coattails of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade to get his rings.

It felt at least partially real, especially if you watch Ernie Johnson’s reaction during the back-and-forth.

Via Twitter:

Game 4 was more interesting, but a 30 minute special where Chuck and Shaq actually do move the furniture and throw down might draw more viewers than these playoffs.

Here’s Kyrie Irving going nuts on the Celtics in the third quarter of Game 3 (VIDEO)

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Kyrie Irving went crazy on the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, scoring 23 points in the third quarter while simultaneously saving the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4. Thanks to his efforts, the Cavaliers now have a chance to head back to Boston on Thursday for an elimination Game 5.

If you were unable to watch Irving go bananas as LeBron James struggled with foul trouble, it truly was a dazzling display. Cleveland scored a whopping 40 points in the third quarter alone, and Irving seemed energized by a rolled ankle he suffered in the period.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at how Kyrie got the Cavaliers’ groove back.

Via Twitter:

Not bad, not bad. If you like that sort of thing.

What I really like is this move that came in the fourth quarter.

I just fell out of my chair, someone help me up.

Cleveland beat Boston, 112-99. They now lead the series, 3-1.

Watch LeBron James miss a wide open dunk against the Celtics in Game 4 (VIDEO)

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LeBron James did not have a good first half on Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics. The Cleveland Cavaliers star had four fouls in the first half, the first time that had ever happened according to ESPN.

Things were not going well for James when he went up for a dunk with nary a defender in front of him and he still wound up being unable to convert the bucket.

This is something you don’t see every day.

Via Twitter:

Of course, thanks to a 23-point quarter by Kyrie Irving the missed dunk didn’t seem to mean much. LeBron’s playoff entry to Shaqtin’ A Fool will be duly noted.

Meanwhile, the Kyrie Irving saved the Cavaliers in Game 4 with a 42-point effort. The Cavaliers beat the Celtics, 112-99, and will have a chance to close the series Thursday night in Boston in Game 5.

Kyrie Irving scores 23 in third quarter, saves Cavaliers in Game 4 win over Celtics

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The Boston Celtics led by as many as 16 points, but Kyrie Irving‘s 23-point third quarter sparked a Cleveland Cavaliers comeback that the visiting squad could never match. With LeBron James struggling early, Irving’s incredible play helped Cleveland grab a win in Game 4, 112-99.

James was the big storyline as the game opened, as the King again struggled with scoring. James got himself into foul trouble hilariously early, racking up his fourth foul in the second quarter. It was the first time in his career that James had four fouls in the first half, and it hamstrung the Cavaliers.

Boston continued their effective play on offense, seemingly less predictable with Isaiah Thomas out with a hip injury. Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder were the stars for the Celtics, but after an incredible Game 3 performance Marcus Smart failed to deliver.

Irving’s big third quarter was of course the main storyline of the game, with the star guard going nuts on Celtics defenders with a bevy of crossovers, twisting layups, and pull up 3-pointers. He did all this after rolling his ankle, seemingly using the adrenaline to fight off both injury and a series tie at 2-2. Irving’s 23-point quarter fueled a 40-point period for Cleveland, helping them turn the tables and take a 7-point lead going into the fourth.

LeBron seemed to reactivate off Irving’s stellar play, and he wound up scoring 34 points on 15-of-27 shooting, adding six assists, five rebounds, a steal and a block. Irving finished with 42 points, going 4-of-7 from 3-point range to go along with four assists and three rebounds.

Boston was led by Bradley, who scored 19 points but went just 1-of-7 from 3-point range. Crowder added 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Al Horford dropped 16 points, seven assists, and three rebounds.

Cleveland now has a chance to put us out of our misery and close this series in Boston in Game 5 on Thursday.

If the Cavaliers do close, the big questions that remain will be whether LeBron can perform steadily and if the Cavaliers have what it takes on defense to slow down the Golden State Warriors.