This was a tough shot by Bradley Beal to give the Wizards the 90-89 win over the Knicks on Friday, and an even tougher loss for New York to deal with considering where it puts them in the standings.
Beal evaded one defender on the perimeter, then dribbled into two others before draining the jumper that ultimately proved to be the deciding shot.
The Knicks played well in this one, and got monster performances from J.R. Smith (32 points, 8-of-16 from three) and Amar’e Stoudemire (who scored 12 of his 16 points in the third). But the margin of error is extremely slim at this point in New York, and Carmelo Anthony had one of his worst games of the season, finishing with 10 points on 5-of-14 shooting to go along with nine turnovers.
It was the second time this season Beal beat the Knicks, after his game-winner back in December similarly sank New York’s chances.
The loss leaves the Knicks in a difficult spot, trailing the Hawks by two games in the loss column for the final playoff spot in the East.
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.
He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:
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.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.
General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.
McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.