The Knicks almost completed an amazing comeback win — down 27 in the second quarter they came all the way back to lead by two points with less than 20 seconds to play. One basket probably seals the win but DeMarcus Cousins reads the Knicks play — Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler run a pick-and-roll and Kidd thinks he has room for the alley-oop lob but Cousins sees it and goes up and grabs the pass then outlets to initiate a break.
There is no set play for the Kings, out of the initial fast break Isaiah Thomas shows he is no Tim Duncan and misses the 8-foot bank shot from the wing.
Then the James Johnson show begins. First Johnson tips the loose ball rebound back out (announcer Mike Breen credits Cousins but it was Johnson), Thomas chases it down, starts to drive the paint, draws the defense and kicks it to John Salmons in the corner but the defense rotates so Salmons passes to Johnson who has moved out to the top of the arc and he takes the three and drains it.
Heartbreaking loss for the Knicks, who were again without Carmelo Anthony as well as Raynond Felton (and Amar’e Stoudemire) but outscored the Kings 55-35 in the second half. While they got 28 points from J.R. Smith he took 25 shots to get it.
Johnson finished with 17 for the Kings and you just saw his only three of the night.
Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years
Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.
In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”
“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.
The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.
Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.
Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.