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Hawks 142, Knicks 139 (4 OT): ‘Save Melo. Trade him tomorrow’

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Melo and the Knicks fought hard. You have to give them that.

NBA: New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah, so....that happened.

The longest regular season game of the 2016-17 NBA calendar so far was Sunday afternoon’s meeting between the Knicks and the Hawks in Atlanta. It was a very, very long game, and despite an appearance from Olympic — nay, Herculean — Melo, New York could not hold on for a win.

Before we get to some notes and observations from today’s game, I’d like to say a few words about some stuff. ahem.

Carmelo Anthony is freaking fantastic. Amidst all these trade rumors and through all the crap the NBA at-large constantly puts him through, he still comes out and does that. What was that, you ask??

THAT.

He’s surpassed that 30-year mark, and these sorts of performances absolutely can’t be expected of him on a nightly basis, but when they come, how in the hell could you possibly not win that game?

It also begs the question: Where in the world does Melo find the motivation to play like that? He’s on a team that is nearing double-digit games below .500, and whose front office is actively looking to trade him. Given that he has repeatedly expressed his desire not to be traded, this is not the type of situation where he wants to look good for potential suitors.

He’s a franchise player, a Hall of Famer and dammit he deserves better. I’m not saying I would like to see him traded because in all honesty, that would make me very sad. He’s meant a lot to the Knicks, and for a very short but very sweet period of time, he made New York basketball relevant for the first time in a while.

But I also can’t stand to see this man waste a performance like that one on a ridiculous loss. Sure, he fouled out and yeah, maybe the game would have gone differently had he not. But also, how could you be mad at him? He played his ass off — as he does more than the many NBA fans, including Knicks fans seem to realize — and the game was just a few points away from heading to a fifth overtime. He played more than an entire game’s worth of minutes in one of the most brutally-officiated games of the season; he was going to foul out eventually.

As P&T’er Melo’s Bucket Hat Collection put it when our hero fouled out in the second overtime, the Knicks should probably trade him just to protect him from all this nonsense. He deserves better. He just does.

The end. Recap over.

Oh wait I had other things to talk about. The recap will never end...just like this game. I hope that that plea acted something like the 4 overtimes did in delaying your collective pain, because now we get to talk about the actual game. Huzzah.

We already went through Melo’s fabulous afternoon, but I would hate for his two game-tying shots to go unacknowledged.

The first to send it to OT:

And the second to send it to a second OT:

He was clutch. I already stated my stance here. Let’s get to the other Knicks.

— Brandon Jennings: He had a less-than-optimal game today. He dropped 18 points, 3 boards and had 11 assists in relief of the injured Derrick Rose...in 53 minutes. Not gonna complain about someone’s stats in a 53-freaking-minute night because I’m completely winded after about 2 minutes of rec league basketball, but yeah, 5-15 from the field is not ideal.

According to Steve Popper, it looks like New York could be without Derrick Rose for a while longer, too. Though Brandon Jennings is solid (not even being sarcastic) second option at the 1.

— Joakim Noah: ERROR [404]: Stats, commentary, fucks to give not available.

— Kristaps Porzingis: Kristaps dropped 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks and an assist in 30 minutes of game action before fouling out. The boy ain’t right. We probably won’t know until after the season, but KP is hurting in one way or another. Confidence? Actual physical injury? Who knows, but something is up. We put a lot on the kid, and forget he’s 21. How did you handle pressure at 21? He’s 21.

It’s perfectly reasonable to believe there’s something the matter with him, and why shouldn't there be? He actually did have an injury just a few short (painfully long) weeks ago. Additionally, he’s playing on a team that has had ohhhh, just a few distractions lately. It’s a lot to put on a kid, and the fact that he goes out there and gives it his all is admirable. He’ll get right and he’ll be fine, but let’s all acknowledge the fact that there’s something off with him right now.

— Courtney Lee: Courtney dropped 17 points in 52 minutes to go along with his 9 boards and 2 assists. Most importantly though he did a thing that was kiiindddd of awesome:

That really funky looking stroke works, and for just a moment, sent Knicks fans into an absolute frenzy. File this under the “hurts so good” category.

— Willy Hernangomez: He played 3 minutes Sunday — tres, as they say in his native Spain. That is 3 out of 68 total minutes. It took four players fouling out for him to finally get on the court. Noah played 41 minutes.

I believe this recap is over. Thank God the month of January is finally...oh crap, they play Washington on the 31st? Ugh.