The Knicks have been on Carmelo Anthony's back most, if not all season. Today's game against the Miami Heat could be pivotal for a host of reasons, not just a playoff berth, but for "Team Spirit" and opponent predictability. On Friday night the Washington Wizards did not beat the Knicks..The NY Knicks beat the NY Knicks. Our opponents knew will even a minor injury to Carmelo Anthony the team would still try to ride him and boom double digit turnovers for a team which had gone all season doing a great job of keeping turnovers down, as Tyson Chandler did a wonder job pointing to the Settle Seahawks success in the Super Bowl - its all about "Defense" and "Turnovers". The teams that win have great "D", don't turnover and cause their opponents to turnover. That formula was working for the Knicks this past two weeks before the Washington Wizards game.
Today - Against Miami Heat - the NY Knicks need to be "Unpredictable", have a great "Team Spirit" and play solid "D"! They can beat Maimi Heat if they do those 3 things. How is this best achieved?
1) Melo Out! Not Out of the game - but given his injury "tweak" - a change of focus is needed. Miami Heat won't even have to double him to succeed - just pressure him a little and if his shot is off due to the "tweak" then its important for Carmelo Anthony to work himself less, focus on a strong "D" and shoot less (Miami does not expect him to play that way!).
2) Team spirit - The whole NY Knicks Team - will step up if they know Carmelo Anthony is downshifting a gear and letting them take the baton. Especially Amare Stoudemire, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. This core will raise their game if Carmelo Anthony lets them.
3) Focus on Defense has been the game changer for the Knicks and when they get aggressive on Defense they Win! This goes for Carmelo Anthony more than any other player on the team. As their leader his shift in focus from perpetual perimeter shooter to intense interior & perimeter defender has been transformative to all the players around him - just look at the massive improvement in Amare Stoudemire's game once he started rebounding and blocking shots!! Hats off to him for such an amazing turnaround! It has infected JR Smith and Iman Shumpert in the same way..
The NY Knicks can beat the Heat today if they can do these 3 things, but they need a Melo Moment from Caremelo Anthony to pull it off.. They will lose if they try to pin their entire hopes on a blockbuster game from him.