If not for an ankle injury caused by a hard foul by Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony may have put on a show similar to Kobe Bryant’s annual trips to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
Anthony still poured in 30 on 10 of 15 shooting in just 23 minutes as the New York Knicks beat the struggling Los Angeles Lakers 116-107, a score which does not accurately describe how distant these two clubs are right not.
Melo scored 22 in the first quarter to give his team a 41-27 lead. They once had a 26 point lead in the second and led by 17 when Anthony left the game with that ankle.
Kobe Bryant, as always, also went to work at the World’s Most Famous Arena, scoring 31 and grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Clearly, Anthony came to play motivated to knock off his ex-coach Mike D’Antoni, whom he completely and utterly exposed in front of the whole country on TNT for the overrated head coach that he is.
D’Antoni went 121-167 in four seasons in New York before “resigning” mid-way through what was a disastrous 18-24 campaign last year despite the boost thatLinsanity gave that lifeless squad.
D’Antoni replaced Mike Brown in Los Angeles and is 4-9 so far for a Lakers team that is going through the same turmoil that these now elite Knickerbockers went through one year ago.
What a difference a year, and a change of coaches, a difference makes.
Former Hawks head coach Mike Woodson took over for D’Antoni and won as many games D’Antoni did last year, but in 18 less games. The Knicks caught fire and grabbed the 7th seed. Now, they’re even better, off to their best start since the days of Patrick Ewing and on top of the Eastern conference.
What has been the difference between the Knicks under D’Antoniand Woodson? Quite simply, their coaching styles are completely different and Woodson’s is a much better fit than D’Antoni.
Woodson’s Knicks are 10th in points allowed, first in point differential and first in turnover differential.D’Antoni’s teams have never finished above 20th in the league in defense.
Now currently, D’Antoni is in a complete and utter mess in Los Angeles. He is clearly not a fit there either. He has turned Pau Gasol into a jump-shooter when he clearly isn’t. The bench, led by Antwan Jamison, Jodie Meeks, Darius Morris and Chris Duhon, has been the worst in the NBA yet they continue to chuck up three-pointers in typicalD’Antoni.
The only guys that are performing right now are the usual: Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, but both are flawed. Bryant is having one of his best seasons but the (undeserved) whole ball-hog reputation is starting to return as the Lakers are 1-11 when he scores over 30 points. Howard coming off back surgery has been solid but is a 4th quarter liability because of his god awful free throw shooting
Indeed. If his time New York and Los Angeles has proved anything, it’s that MikeD’Antoni’s run-n-gun system clearly doesn’t work without the ultimate floor general at point guard, Steve Nash. In the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, Nash won two consecutive MVPs and led D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns to the western conference finals in both seasons.
Even when D’Antoni had average point guards in New York like Raymond Felton and Jeremy Lin, they excelled and had career years before falling off the very next year.
But is Nash the answer to the Lakers’ woes? They’re currently seventh in offense but 22nd in defense. Nash shouldn’t be confused for Gary Payton. Still, the Lakers offense looked like a mess at times and he will certainly help.
Will it be enough? They’ll figure it out eventually and make the playoffs but they won’t be making noise there if the defense manages to improve.
The Lakers’ goal is always to win a championship. Nash isn’t going to solve their problems so much that they will indeed fulfill this do-or-die goal.
On the other side of the country, the Knicks are perfectly happy with Mike Woodson, Carmelo Anthony, and the roster they have now and they’ll be even better once ImanShumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire return.
While one has to question whether getting both back will be an easy transition or whether the Knicks will continue to knock down this rate of threes, there’s no doubt that Mike Woodson is a better fit for this franchise than Mike D’Antoni was, as Mike No-D was exposed in NY and now even more so on the biggest stage in basketball.