CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
Melo Shines as the Brightest Light on Broadway
Anthony Outduels Kobe at the World’s Greatest Arena
NEW YORK,NY (BASN)– – This was the clash of the titans all right. But, something happened along the way. Well, the Los Angeles Lakers became a very bad team ostensibly overnight. You could say that former Knicks coach, Mike D’Antoni has a lot to do with it, and he probably does, but they were pretty bad before that. The Lakers let Mike Brown go after only 5 games into the season. Then on top of that there was Steve Nash getting hurt and the fiasco of whether or not Hall-of-Fame coach, Phil Jackson was coming back to guide the team with the triangle offense.
Timing is everything. As so it seems of late, every time the Lakers come to town since Kobe’s epic 61 point explosion a few seasons ago, the Lakers seem to be reeling in some way. Last year, Jeremy Lin surprised the Kobe and his Lakers for 38 points in startling fashion. Kobe who had before that game claimed to not even know who Lin was or what he was doing became a believer afterwards.
Kobe who’s been good friends with Melo for a long time is already a believer and supporter. “Melo was sensational. He is in an environment where they celebrate and encourage that…he is being who he is.” Kobe also called Melo the toughest player in the League to guard; even a tougher cover than both LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Melo took the Laker game as if it were a Playoff game. One has to wonder if it was a mano-a-mano toward Kobe or a revenge game against his former coach in D’Antoni. “I wanted to beat them,’’ Melo said. “I wanted to beat the Lakers especially protecting our home court. It had nothing to do with Mike. We are rolling, playing good basketball right now. Everybody seems to be having fun out there.’’
The friendship with Kobe, his fellow All-star and Olympic teammate is solid. But it has been well noted that Melo and his former coach butted heads on how the Knicks offense was being run through Lin. And as Kobe defended Melo (even as recently as after the Knicks game at MSG) saying [the media] feed and perpetuated how Melo would have to ‘fit in’ with Lin as opposed to the other way around.
Melo scored 9 points within the first 3 minutes of the game and exploded for 22 points in the first quarter as the Knicks went on to put up, 41 points. “He was incredible,’’ Mike Woodson said. “He played 22 minutes and had 30 points. I say that is incredible.’’ Melo added, “I was zoned in, I was locked in,’’ Anthony said. “Tonight was one of those games I had that feeling. My teammates were feeding off that.’’
Melo’s night ended abruptly in the third quarter only after playing nearly 23 minutes but scoring 30 points; after landing from a hard foul from Dwight Howard.
The Knicks committed only 6 turnovers while accumulating 25 assists. Knicks have sold out 75 consecutive and 95 of last 97 regular-season games. Coach Mike Woodson, since taking over is 20-1 in the regular-season at Madison Square Garden. Coach Woodson is big on protecting the team’s home court. The Knicks are 14-2 when they make 10 or more three-pointers. Against the Lakers they had twelve.
Jerald L. Hoover