Carmelo Anthony did all he could to help his team win on Friday, but as has been the case more often than not this year, his effort simply wasn’t enough.
New York dropped a double-overtime game in Orlando that left them four and a half games out of a playoff spot in the East, despite Anthony finishing with 44 points and 11 rebounds.
The trade deadline came and went without the Knicks making any deals, and that’s probably a good thing considering what they were about to get back in exchange for Iman Shumpert. Anthony wasn’t interested in discussing his team’s lack of improvement after the loss, however, essentially saying that it wasn’t his place to comment on front office decisions.
From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Carmelo Anthony isn’t sure whether the Knicks standing pat at the trade deadline while their competitors improved was the right or wrong thing to do. But he knows not to dwell on it.
“We didn’t make any moves,’’ Anthony said after the latest disastrous loss, a 129-121 double-overtime defeat to the Magic on Friday night. “Should we have or not? That’s not for me to say. We didn’t, we move on. We have the same team and have to move on.’’
That’s not exactly the same as Kobe Bryant saying he doesn’t want any input on the Lakers free agent decisions, but it’s in the same vicinity.
The difference in Anthony’s case is that he himself will be a free agent this summer, and has said specifically that he wants to see the team’s future plans before he considers whether or not to re-sign.
No deal the Knicks would have made at the deadline would have improved the team enough on paper to guarantee a playoff spot via a second half push. Anthony likely realizes that, which is why the question of what the team will do in the offseason is far more important to him than the one of what could have happened at the deadline that has already passed.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.