The Knicks and the Bulls gave us a thrilling game on Sunday, one that New York was able to pull out in overtime 100-99. If not for Carmelo Anthony and his 43 points, the Knicks wouldn’t have gotten that chance.
Anthony nailed two big-time three-pointers with the game on the line — one that sent the game into overtime at the end of regulation, the other that won it near the end of the extra session.
Here’s the first: Knicks down three, under 15 seconds to play. He brings the ball up, and Taj Gibson is defending — but not closely enough.
It’s really unconscionable for Gibson to allow Anthony to shoot that three. You know the Knicks need a three to tie, and you know that Anthony loves these situations and is going to shoot it if he has the space. You have to make him drive there — even if no help comes and he ends up scoring a quick two, Chicago still has the lead and will go to the free throw line (after the Knicks foul) with a chance to extend it.
The three Anthony hit that ended up being the game-winner with nine seconds left in OT was, from a defensive standpoint, a little more understandable.
The Knicks had a frantic possession that began with 43 seconds left in the game, and outworked Chicago on the glass to get up four shot attempts, all of which were unsuccessful. The Bulls were likely exhausted by that point, and with Anthony slowly dribbling the ball beyond the three-point arc with the shot clock off, Chicago likely figured him to be waiting to take the game’s final shot.
Needing only a two to tie this time, it made sense for the Bulls to sag off him a bit and play the drive. But Anthony lulled his defender into a relaxed state, and quickly rose up to drain the game-winning shot.