The Knicks won their 11th straight game on Friday, but as hot as the team has ben during that stretch, Carmelo Anthony has managed to be even hotter.
Anthony poured in 41 points on 17-28 shooting in his most recent effort, to go along with 14 rebounds. In doing so, he tied a franchise record by scoring at least 40 points in three consecutive games, set by Bernard King back in 1984.
More impressive than just the points is the efficient manner in which Anthony is putting them up. He’s shooting better than 60 percent during the streak, becoming just the third player in the last 20 years to do so. And then there’s this, from ESPN Stats & Information (via TrueHoop):
Anthony is shooting 64 percent from at least 15 feet over his last three games, after making less than 40 percent of those shots in his first 59 games.
He is making over 12 shots per game from that distance in that span. How hot is he? No player in the NBA averages more than six made field goals of 15-plus feet per game for the season.
It’s tough to stop someone who’s knocking down jumpers at this rate, and historically, you want guys getting midrange looks as opposed to getting to the rim for easy baskets, or shooting uncontested threes.
It’ll be interesting to see how much longer Anthony can keep this up, and even more interesting to see how teams scheme for him in the playoffs. For now, just enjoy the show.
PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions
Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.
In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).
Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.
Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury
The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.
After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.
Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) —LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.
James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.
Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.
James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.
James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.
“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”
It looks like Denver will ride with the younger Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay at point guard — a risky proposition. Nelson stabilized the position in the event Murray or Mudiay weren’t ready for bigger roles. The Nuggets aren’t hedging their bets now, which puts plenty of pressure on Murray and Mudiay.
Murray should be fine eventually. Mudiay’s promise is far less certain. But this is a team trying to reach the playoffs now, and it might have to ride out growing pains from its point guards without Nelson as a safety net.
Richard Jefferson became a late entrant into free agency when the Cavaliers traded him and the Hawks waived him.
But the forward is landing on his feet.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Free agent forward Richard Jefferson is closing in on a one-year, $2.3M deal with the Denver Nuggets, league sources tell ESPN.
Jefferson could help the Nuggets, who look primed to end a four-season playoff drought. They were set to squeeze backup small-forward minutes behind Wilson Chandler out of the undersized Will Barton and oversized Juan Hernangomez. Jefferson is far more comfortable at the position.
He’s 37 and doesn’t offer long-term upside, but he’s a savvy defender and still pretty athletic. He picks his spots well enough offensively to help on that end, too.
But Denver also has a deep roster that already had 15 players on standard contracts. There’s not an obvious cut to make room for Jefferson, though the Nuggets clearly have something planned.