About Last Night: ‘Melo(Drama) Free

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Whatever happens with Carmelo Anthony in the coming days and weeks, know this — it won’t change anything about the way he’s playing.

Did you catch his show last night? The Orlando Magic did. They got 35-points worth of drama free ‘Melo. While moves were being made thousands of miles away — moves perhaps done to acquire him — Anthony was busy putting together arguably his best night of the season.

He worked the Magic (more on their continued slump in a minute) consistently, using and abusing a parade of defenders that had no chance of slowing him down.

Even more impressive than his performance, though, was his (and his team’s ability) ability to compartmentalize, as Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post explains:

Anthony was solid all night, scoring his 35 points on 14-of-21 shooting, including nine points in the fourth quarter. Six Nuggets scored in double figures, with Ty Lawson and [JR] Smith adding 16 points apiece.

The Nuggets play San Antonio on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center. Anthony was asked if he’ll be in a Nuggets uniform for that one.

“I have a game here on Thursday night against San Antonio, and that’s what I’m focused on,” Anthony said. “All of that other stuff, I don’t even pay attention to right now.”

Nuggets coach George Karl also said he expects to have Anthony in uniform Thursday.

“I’ve been told nothing,” Karl said. “Masai [Ujiri]and I have a good relationship. I don’t think the pulse of anything has sped up by the stuff that came out in New York or what happened today (with the Nets), from what I know. And I kind of like it that way. I don’t want daily innuendo. All it does is get you stressed out and pressurized.”

Speaking of stressed out and pressurized, has anyone seen our good friend Stan Van Gundy lately?

The Magic coach has been surprisingly calm during this sticky stretch his team is working through.

They are playing .500 basketball these days and in danger of falling behind the Knicks and Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings in the next few days, if they can’t get things straightened out.

Granted, they might not have to worry about the Hawks if Larry Drew‘s crew takes many more beatings like the one the Pistons put on them last night, which you can see here along with all of Tuesday night’s action in the Daily Zap:

And everyone keeps barking about the Heat needing to show us the goods against other elite teams, but the Magic boast wins over Miami and Chicago this season and that’s it for RPI-boosting wins.

Once a defensive power, anchored by two-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, the Magic are suddenly average at best on that end of the floor. And Howard is clearly not happy about it, per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

“We’ve got to play defense, that’s it,” Howard said at his locker. “It’s got to be everybody. Our wings got to do a better job not allowing their man just to get to the rim every play. It puts a lot of pressure on the bigs. It’s hard for the big guys to really help like we want when a guy takes one dribble and he’s at the rim. It’s very tough. I like blocking shots, but if a guy is one dribble in and the ball’s up, and I’m over on the other side, I can’t fly over there. I don’t have a cape in real life.”

It’s good to see Howard stepping up and providing leadership in this situation. But we have to wonder if this Magic team has something more going on. This is their longest bout of uneven play in some time.

It’s almost like they haven’t recovered from their playoff flame out from last season … very strange.

20 Comments

  1. Colt says:

    I dont think any other team complimets ‘Melo’s abilities better than Denver. I love Nuggets, and i’d hate to see him leave. But if he did leave, i’d be pretty excited if he joined my buddies in LA, ya know alongside Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon :)

  2. Lebron says:

    Magic will be first is SE and win a championship

  3. chris says:

    Lebron you spelt championship wrong but magic will win a championchip

  4. HEAT FAN says:

    Magic won’t be 1st place in SE conference, let alone anything else.

  5. aggresive says:

    I know this is gona cause contraversy but…. I got to say it, Melo Ballin But….Bron better

  6. BROOKLYN BALLERS (AKA NEW JERSEY NETS) says:

    MELO WILL BE PLAYING IN NEW YORK IN A COUPLE OF YEARS! BROOKLYN, NEW YORK!

    BROOKLYN BALLERS!

    • sdot says:

      Well their new name is going to me the Brooklyn New Yorkers..just the name alone should make someone not want to join the nets

  7. MEGAKNICKS2010 says:

    COME 2 NEW YORK CARMELO WE NEED YOU AND YOU NEED A RING, PLEASE BLESS US CARMELO

  8. Wait a minute says:

    As well as defense, I think it’s also the Magics shot selection. WAY TOO MANY THREE POINT ATTEMPTS. If you’re not hitting three’s that night, don’t force more three’s, quit taking them, plane and simple. I watched last nights game against the nuggets and the only guy hitting three’s on the magic was JJ. I think if they drive to the basket a bit more they’ll be cool.

  9. ZachHenders says:

    I”m a big Magic fan and your right about Carmelo. I believe that he is going to go into free agency. I also believe that he wont take just in offer because they give him the most amount of money. I’m sure that he want’s to go to a team where he is capable of winning championship.

  10. tsmoovbaby says:

    It’s funny how everyone thinks the Magic are in trouble since they haven’t been playing well lately. That flu really caught us at the worst time, right at the beginning of two road trips with Atlanta in between. Nelson hasn’t played well since he returned, Vince Carter cannot defend ANYBODY, HOWARD STILL CAN’T MAKE FREE THROWS, AND OUR OFFENSE IS TOO VANILLA. TEAMS KNOW THAT ALL WE WANT TO DO IS SHOOT THREES AND TRHOW IT IN TO DWIGHT. I would advise Coach Van Gundy to DEMAND HIS GUARDS TO GET TO THE WHOLE, DRAW DEFENDERS AND TAKE IT UP LIKE A MAN. Then we would be able to get Howard easier looks and we can just let him do what he does best, finish at the rim. WE GOTTA BE ABLE TO GET TO THE WHOLE WHENEVER WE WANT TO IF WE WANT TO WIN IT ALL! AND WHY DIDN’T WE DOUBLE MELO? WE HAVE TO GET THE BALL OUT OF HIS HANDS! I’LL LEAVE NENE OPEN ALL DAY! But its all good, honestly they probably just need to get back home, take a nap or something, we will be back baby!

  11. Zzanzabar says:

    I think that the real question is what team will present the best career opportunity for Melo in the LONG run? If he stays with Denver and the Nuggets swing, lets say, a trade for
    cP3 then he would have a great chance too not only make the playoffs almost every year of his career but he would have a great chance to make it to the Finals.

    On the other hand, playing in the soft Eastern Conference also means a yearly trip to the playoffs and the impact of one GOOD player can really make a difference (just look at Amare and the Knicks) to a bad team. What it boils down to is who can offer WHAT for Carmelo. The Knicks and Nets have very little in the way of equal (or close to equal) trade value, but the Nuggets have little leeway because his contract is up this year. No doubt if the Nuggets could trade for CP3 then the Melo man would stay, if not then he should wait for free agency for the best offers (remember without signing an extension he controls his own destiny).

    • aggresive says:

      Soft Eastern Conference?

    • sdot says:

      two things i just thought were funny..soft eastern conference?? The western conference may have a greater number of strong teams but the conference with more actual title contenders is the eastern conference. Also you just called the knicks a bad team when they beat the nuggets..so im guessing the nuggets are one of the worst teams in the league then

      • Zzanzabar says:

        @sdot and aggressive

        First I didn’t say the current Knicks was a bad team only that a good player can improve a bad team (are you saying that last years Knicks was a GOOD team?). Secondly what makes a strong CONFERENCE is the number of good teams (i.e. number of teams with winning records) in it, NOT the one or two superior teams at the top. Why? Because only ONE of the superior teams can make it OUT of the playoffs to the Finals. There are only 3 REAL powerhouses in the East: Boston, Orlando, and Miami (please don’t even CONSIDER Atlanta when it comes to playoff time). There are 4 or 5 legitimate powerful teams in the West: Lakers, Spurs, Mavericks, OKC/Denver (depending on injury).

        In the Eastern Conference they historically (and it is proving to be true this year) had teams make the playoffs with sub-par winning records (a .500 can get you into the the Eastern playoffs). While all EIGHT of the Western Conference teams have often needed to win 49+ games just to get to the LAST playoff spot. Adding Melo to just about any Eastern team will just about guarantee that team a .500 record ergo, he will most likely reach the playoffs in the East for many years to come not matter WHAT Eastern team he lands on. Not true for the West. I do not see Melo making the Kings or even the Clippers (although I think that the Clippers would come close) into a 50 win team.

  12. Jake says:

    Lets go Magic. Maybe it’s time for Dwight to start bashing some heads in; start with Rashard Lewis.