Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Camelo Anthony Scorches in Brilliant Masterpiece, but It Wasn't Enough
He walked off the floor with a feeling of displeasure, mourning over the resemblance of an absolute collapse in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series the other night, bothered with the sudden tottering in the postseason by falling short in the final minutes.
He slowly proceeded into the tunnel, gazed in disgust and tiredness, shock his head in disbelief, then screamed in frustration that suddenly hinders the New York Knicks of occupying improbability for an association with the slogan, "Where Amazing Happens!!!" Although Carmelo Anthony is satisfied to be a resident of New York, where he declared his citizenship and resides these days growing up in a place that culturally is attached to street hoops, he's not too upbeat with the fatality shown against Boston.
Wearing a white towel around his waist, he laid flat on his back on a table in the somber locker room attended to by two physical trainers. After a painful loss, tired by the anxiety of aloneness without forming a bona fide trio alongside an inactive Amar'e Stoudemire and the veteran Chauncey Billups, he was treated as the trainers soothed his muscles
The virulent twist, coming in the aftermath of the Knicks hurtful 96-93 loss trailing the series 2-0 in the playoff series against the Boston Celtics, is dictated after New York plunged in a less competitive and off balanced series of stunning events Tuesday night. For one of the richest franchises on the planet that resides in the Big Apple, as Knicks owner James Dolan invests in his enormous payroll, New York has been in for a rude awakening when it became apparent that the Bockers were no match for the well-experienced and tenacious Celtics.
Business is earnest, especially for the talented forward, a fixture for the Knicks' future as he evolves into a superstar and the beloved celebrity in New York, welcomed home with open arms for uplifting an unstable franchise out of clutters. Yet he carries a group of castoffs single-handedly in a lopsided heavyweight match against a much stronger and talented opponent, putting on a spectacular shooting display, burying shots from every angle and pounding the glass skillfully entangled in a flurry of anguish, the Knicks stood aghast on the floor in the deafening TD Garden worried in a panic mode.
As the shaky Knicks are fading in the Celtics' shadows, defenseless and disarmed from ripening with Stoudemire limited with a sore back and Billups sidelined because of a knee injury, Anthony delivered in one of the breathless postseason performances even after New York had fallen short by the lack of effort from an inefficient supporting cast. That in turn assures an early exit for the Knicks -- although the development of Anthony reinserted a factual psyche within a franchise familiar with playoff deeds and the posture of cultivating excellence in essence of producing an agenda for putting together a mental state.
When he transformed instantly into a megastar who built stardom in one of his theatrical nights, presenting an unreal scenario and unleashing another side of his transcendent performance, he earned regards. Before tip off, no one ever imagined Anthony putting on a shooting clinic in the decisive game of the series, no one ever imagined 'Melo shining as the franchise star that nearly demolished the Celtics. The monstrous shooting, from everywhere on the floor after dropping in difficult and abnormal attempts, was almost the turning point in the Knicks rebuilding process.
But when the subtle night revolves around one player to lead the Knicks in the brightest series of these playoffs, brightening much of the odds in pulling off the grander upset with a workable plot done by Anthony, then it seems anything is bound to happen on Broadway this season. And really, who knows if the Knicks have enough to match the Celtics' energy and swagger, bullying 'Melo and company by their experience and veteran know-how? It is well established, by his all-time statistical results, that Anthony is the primary star and ripened into a team leader, one who can implement the collectivity of gusto, soul and chemistry.
By scoring a mere 42 points, accompany with 17 rebounds and six assists, Anthony madly played a brand of productive basketball but his teammates were absent and lacked existence on the parquet floor and inside a building with countless championship banners. So clearly in the aftermath of another outrageous collapse, a mesmerizing breakthrough for 'Melo, wasn't enough to garner a must-needed victory. In the midst of the Knicks magical apex, yearning for a chance at a slew of fineness in the postseason by pulling off an upset in the first round to defeat the defending Eastern Conference champs, a creative and prolific style of subtlety was ousted ever since Mike D'Antoni became the head coach in New York.
So openly, for a head coach who is a former Italian basketball star, known for his expertise in instituting an up-tempo offense, D'Antoni was responsible for the mental lapse the other night when he designed a play that wasn't executed properly and went to Anthony's hands after shooting merely 1-for-11 in the second half of the first game of the series. This time, his heroic deeds were needed thrust in the position to play like a superstar, including a charismatic leader that reduces the vein of disenchantment among supporters of a passionate sports community, suddenly panicking as the Knicks fight for survival.
In the town of his birthplace, he is regarded as one of the epic superstars for a town where the folks witnessed Bernard King and Patrick Ewing, not only Spike Lee sitting courtside either petrified or emotionally excited over the Knicks. There is strong evidence that he's having lots of fun in this series, a vintage player for the Knicks as Anthony has carried the weight on his shoulders. This is what he wanted all along, an opportunity to migrate in New York, where basketball is played religiously at Rucker Park for street basketball events.
This is where he calls home, and ever since he made the transition to New York, he took accountability for the leadership role and grown mightily into a superstar. This is where he wanted to play, for a highly marketed franchise and claim the spotlight in a Bockers uniform. But what comes with joining a professional franchise in the Big Apple are the ramifications of getting lambasted in local tabloids for such a paltry shooting performance or dropping down 2-0 in the series.
His plans were to arrive in New York and compile championships in the near future, uttering that he desires to be a winner but also wants to play for a well-known franchise in the NBA and reside at home. While it's ultimately evident that he is trying to reach a global pinnacle in basketball, similar to LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, he is insisting that he is craving to resuscitate life for a community awed in witnessing his impact on the Knicks' recent prosperity.
As it turns out, no star earned more praise than Anthony for playing so splendidly with a lethargic supporting cast. The series is far from over, but if the Knicks wish to survive, they'll need contributions from Jared Jeffries, Roger Mason and Landry Fields particularly. It's too bad that Toney Douglas is inexperience, not really groomed to provide inspirational messages or act like a floor general. It's too bad that Anthony Carter isn't a great point guard.
There's no way the Knicks can continue to depend on Anthony by himself, who is handling the heavy task alone without reinforcements from his role players or fellow megastars. So here was Anthony channeling his Bernard King, a resemblance of Kings epic Game 5 against the Pistons in 1984, but it is vital that he nails the game-winner at the end of the game and take matters into his own hands if he wants to be the superstar fond of playing on the biggest stage. The chorus of criticism is now being heard after Anthony mistakenly threw a pass to his teammate Jeffries, without attempting the final shot in hopes it would have fallen in for the game-winning shot.
But in a way, this was the Celtics' defensive toughness that Doc Rivers emphasizes so cleverly, hindering Anthony from launching a jump shot in the final minutes when Celtics head coach sent Glen Davis over to work with a pesky Paul Pierce and double-teamed Anthony for which he was unstoppable in a one-on-one battle. With the usual execution defensively, the Celtics pestered Anthony and forced him to pass the ball and, out of all people, he found Jeffries for the shot. And with only 19.3 seconds remaining, he drove and rose in traffic to lay it in and gave the Knicks a one-point advantage. But the Celtics wasted no time in answering back, when Kevin Garnett capitalized on a jump hook in the paint six seconds later, a momentum boost that suddenly shifted the complexion for the Knicks.
It was all Anthony, until he decided to pass the ball, in the finest moment of his career when he should have actually shot it. This time, he was unwilling to fire the biggest shot by playing selflessly in the highly critical game of the series as the stakes were higher than ever. Perhaps, he was too selfless in a game he displayed a masterful performance. This was his to take over, for what was another missed opportunity. It could have been one of the greatest nights, a point in time when 'Melo capped one of those brilliant showpieces of the ages. In other news, his incredible masterpiece reminded us of Clyde Frazier, Willis Reed and, um, King.
"I kind of had it going tonight," Anthony said.
He had it going, but it's too bad he couldn't win it.