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.
It’s what the playoffs are all about — win or go home Game 7s. Pressure, drama, unlikely stars Sunday is going to have it all. Here are a few things to watch:
1) Can Miami’s jump shooters have another hot game? Dwyane Wade got the headlines (and he earned them) for his Game 6 performance (everyone except purple shirt guy was impressed), but the real key for the Heat to force a Game 7 was they were hitting their jumpers — or at least enough of them. In their three losses, Miami shot 33.7 percent from 3 feet out to the arc, but in Game 6 the Heat shot 43.5 percent in that range, plus knocked down eight threes. The Hornets have packed the paint all series, when the Heat hit their jumpers they win. It’s that simple.
2) Does Kemba Walker have one more big game in him? Walker was fantastic in Game 6 (37 points), and he’s been very good in the Hornets’ victories. He’s going to penetrate and get some shots inside eight feet, but will he be able to finish? And, more importantly, will he hit his threes when they pack the paint on him? If Walker has a huge game, Charlotte very likely moves on.
3) Is Toronto too far into their own head? No team has more pressure on them to advance out of the first round than Toronto after two previous years of getting bounced in the first round, and they will feel that weight at home in Game 7 against Indiana. Will Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan step up with big games in the biggest moments of their careers, or will they succumb to the moment and the Pacers defense? For all the Xs and Os that do matter in this game, how the Raptors handle the pressure will be key.
4) Can the Pacers again get a few quality minutes when Paul George sits? In the Pacers comfortable Game 6 win, George got a rest in the second quarter and the Pacers were +5 while he sat. That was a huge step up from Game 5, where the Pacers were -18 when he was out for less than 7 minutes. If Indiana — by playing some starters such as Myles Turner — doesn’t have a huge bench drop off when George rests a few minutes their odds of winning go way up. We know Paul George can handle the moment.
Spurs demolish Thunder to take Game 1 of second-round series
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.