It’s officially a distraction now. Carmelo Anthony is too tired to play the most important quarter of a NBA game against a nine-win team in January? Sounds like a man who is already mentally traded. The New York Knicks (22-29) won 95-90 over the Brooklyn Nets on the road at the Barclay’s Center with Anthony and two other starters Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee sitting on the pine in the fourth quarter.
It’s fair to say that this is not what the Knicks envisioned when Phil Jackson assembled this team to give Carmelo Anthony a fighting chance at competing for a championship before he got too old.
Now looking at Carmelo’s face this past week shows a man who just looks tired. Tired of it all. Tired of playing basketball unless it’s with his friend Lebron James in the Olympics
But with the rumors of trades everyday, none of which will bring fair market value back to a publicly desperate team negotiating out of weakness, distraction is only human. And that’s if Carmelo waives the no-trade clause. If Anthony is going to quit on this team he might as well leave now.
There are players like Sasha Vujacic who hit two four-point plays tonight, one of which tied the game with nine minutes left. Willie Hernangomez, who scored 16 points off the bench, half in the fourth and Justin Holiday and lets not forget Kristaps Porzingis who do care and continue to break their butts every game and most importantly play defense.
“They picked up their intensity, their heat on the ball,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said, “We turned it over, and we didn’t get the shots we wanted. That was the story of the game.”
They are still committed even if their so-called leader no longer is. “I think they have been pretty good,” Hornacek said, “We have had some unfortunate circumstances, bad bounces, and injuries. We keep telling them that when our full crew is in there, we got a chance. We got to weather the storm.”
Even down twelve after one quarter these role players and future franchise star fought hard in a game that rately made sense. The Nets (9-40) committed 21 turnovers over the course of the game but it was still up for grabs with Brooklyn leading by one with under six minutes remaining.
Then these young Europeans made a 16-2 run in the fourth with no starter in the game except Porzingis. “I think we just willed ourselves,” Knicks guard Brandon Jennings said.
Porzingis showed tons of will even with a stomach virus that didn’t want to go away, Porzingis showed how by scoring 19 points
“It was a huge game for us,” Portzingis said, “Last night, obviously we didn’t have a great game, so tonight we felt like this was a must-win for us and somehow we did it.”
His dunk put New York up 79-78 at 5:43. They never look back. All this while the man who should have been out there during crunch time covered his head in a towel preferring to indulge in a pity party.
“I looked up at one time, there was like five minutes, I was like, ‘Ain’t no way I’m going back in there,” Anthony said, “There was no need for us to go back in there and kind of break up what they had going on.” Enough said.