In their first New York Knicks’ playoff games, Amare Stoudemire was huge for the Knicks while Carmelo Anthony came up small. Very small.
Stoudemire had 28 powerful points against the Boston Celtics, including the Knicks’ first eight points of the fourth quarter to stem a Boston rally. Jumpers. Powerful drives to the basket. Kevin Garnett, one of the league’s best defenders, and any other Celtic who tried, were powerless to stop Stoudemire.
Anthony, on the other hand, shot 1-for-11 in the second half and scored just three points. Late in the game he forced up unmakeable 3-pointers, committed an offensive foul, got stripped of his dribble and missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer with less two seconds to play.
Worse than all of that, from this perspective, was Anthony’s obvious disdain for how dominant Stoudemire was and how miserable of a night he was having. On possession after possession down the stretch it was obvious that when the ball got to Anthony it wasn’t going anywhere else. Despite what Anthony said after the game about the Knicks trying to ride Stoudemire’s hot hand, it was plain to see that Anthony had no intention of letting any other Knick try to be the hero.
ESPN New York columnist Ian O’Connor was right this morning in his assertion that the ball should have been going to Stoudemire down the stretch. He wrote, “the Knicks should have honored his effort by making his endgame touches an every-trip-down-the-floor proposition.”
When it comes right down to it, Stoudemire is the reason the Knicks had a chance to win Sunday night. He is, for that matter, the reason they are in the playoffs to begin with.
Anthony is a great player, and he obviously can carry the Knicks when he has things going. Part of playing with another superstar, however, is being willing to step aside when the other superstar has it going and you don’t.
Carmelo was not willing to do that Sunday night, and that selfishness might wind up sinking the Knicks’ season.