Knicks 102, Hornets 80: Carmelo Anthony breaks bad

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Carmelo Anthony is on a sort of “basketball diet.” After years of not maximizing his full potential, Anthony has shown great restraint against the temptations of chucking this season, and as a result, he looks the best he ever has. He’s motivated. He has the desire to defend. He’s taking only what he needs and dispersing what’s leftover elsewhere. It’s a healthy, steady diet, and it’s one that has led the Knicks to the league’s best record to start the season. Anthony trending away from his gluttonous appetite for isolation jumpers has been the most notable change in the Knicks this year, and it’s had a positive effect on the rest of their roster.

This diet is working…but.that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself every now and then.

Carmelo Anthony is human, and he’s been so good that Knicks fans shouldn’t mind that he reverted back to old Melo tonight, the one who fires up heat checks with 18 seconds on the shot clock. So he had a few spoons of ice cream that turned into a bowl that turned into the whole carton. We’ve all been there, and you know what? It’s okay.

It’s okay because Anthony’s scoring binge (12-for-22, 29 points in 28 minutes) was well deserved. Anthony has been so good that you’re almost glad he rewarded himself for his efforts. Against a Hornets team without Anthony Davis (ankle), Eric Gordon, or a prayer, it’s almost like Anthony decided right from the start that this was his game. Put in the work, reap the benefits. Once those first few shots fell, there was no going back and denying Melo from packing on the points. It was the right opponent at the right time, which gives hope that shot “selection” is really a choice that Anthony can now control. The Hornets put up about as much resistance as the lid on the ice cream carton does, so that helped too, but Anthony got his, got some rest, and got his team another win.

In a 102-80 blowout, the rest of the Knicks displayed a familiar formula of 3-point shooting and ball control. The Knicks knocked down 14 3-pointers on the evening and killed the Hornets with skip passes to open shooters in the corner time and time again. Even with the entire fourth quarter consisting of garbage time, the Knicks remained on pace to set the NBA record for the least amount of turnovers per game over the course of a season, which is incredible given their roster composition and their style of play.

Yes, there is a lot of season left ahead of the Knicks. 73 games is an eternity. But for now, it’s hard to deny that the Knicks are shaping up into something great, even when their star occasionally breaks bad.