Melo’s Regression Helps Celts Stay Alive


In a season of improvement, this was a day of regression.

This was Carmelo Anthony‘s year. Though the numbers don’t really show it, he matured this season, learned to trust his teammates, and learned how to be a great scorer without stopping the ball so much. He made quicker, smarter decisions.

On Sunday though, with his New York Knicks trying to close out the Boston Celtics, Anthony seemingly turned back the clock and played like it was 2011 again. He tried to beat the Celtics by himself, and his regression helped Boston stave off elimination with a 97-90, overtime victory. The series now heads back to New York for Game 5 on Wednesday.

Anthony’s regression basically trumped Raymond Felton‘s podium game. The Knicks’ point guard continued to tear up Boston’s pick-and-roll defense, tying his season high with 27 points, 16 of them as the Knicks came back from a 20-point deficit in the third quarter. As great an on-ball defender as Avery Bradley is, he couldn’t stay in front of Felton, who gave the Knicks their only lead of the game with a pick-and-roll, pull-up jumper with just over a minute to go in regulation.

The Knicks even had success when Anthony ran the pick-and-roll. Their 5-0 run to tie the game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter came off two Anthony/Tyson Chandler pick-and-rolls, one that produced an open Iman Shumpert 3-pointer, and another that got Anthony an easy drive to the basket.

But too many times, Anthony preferred to play isolation basketball. And too many times, he forced bad shots. In fact, on the two Knicks possessions that sandwiched Felton’s go-ahead jumper, Anthony ran five different isolations (thanks to three offensive rebounds from his teammates). Those five isolations produced four missed shots, two missed free throws, and zero points.

This wasn’t the worst game of Anthony’s career. On an afternoon when his team was struggling to score, he was able to get to the free throw line 20 times. Eleven of those trips helped keep the Knicks within striking distance in the first half.

But Anthony finished the game 10-for-35 from the field and 0-for-7 from 3-point range, adding seven turnovers. Of his 35 shots, 19 came from mid-range, the least efficient area of the floor.

“He missed some shots,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, “but as a team, we couldn’t make shots.”

But Anthony missed more shots than any three of his teammates combined. He had just two assists, and the Knicks had just 10 as a team.

It was a bad game, nothing more than that. The Knicks’ 3-0 series lead afforded him such, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to redeem himself going forward. He’ll also have J.R. Smith back from his one-game suspension, though Anthony wouldn’t admit that Smith’s absence played a roll in his own tunnel-vision.

“I missed him out there,” Anthony said of Smith. “But J.R. being out there doesn’t change the way I shoot the basketball. Those are the shots I’ve been taking the whole series. They weren’t falling tonight. My mother always said, ‘There’ll be days like this.’ We’ll take it for what it’s worth, put this one behind us, and get ready for Wednesday.”

If Smith’s absence wasn’t a fact, the Celtics’ defense was. Boston had no intention of rolling over and seeing their season end any earlier than it had to. They dug in and made the Knicks work for their baskets.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers went back to his original starting lineup, believing it would be better defensively, and Brandon Bass proved him right. Before eventually fouling out, Bass took on the Anthony assignment and defended the league’s leading scorer about as well as you can.

“He was the star of the game, as far as I’m concerned,” Rivers said of Bass. “He just defended, and did it over and over and over again.”

“The more he does it, the fresher Paul [Pierce], the fresher Jeff [Green] can be offensively for us.”

Pierce and Green were indeed fresh offensively, combining for 55 of the Celtics’ 97 points. Kevin Garnett hit two big jumpers down the stretch and Jason Terry scored Boston’s final nine points in overtime. It was the definition of a team win for the prideful Celtics.

But none of that would have mattered if Anthony didn’t try to beat them all by himself.

“I was trying to win the basketball game,” he said. “It would have been a great feeling to close it out here in Boston, so I was trying to do whatever I could to win the basketball game. I was just trying to be aggressive. I missed a lot – a ton – of shots today.”


  1. jenova says:

    i have faith in my team… CELTICS!!!! the way they initiate offense in game 4 is amazing… Doc had trouble in their plays because of injured players and reserves is in trouble of filling those spots… hopefully they have found that strategy… PLAY WITH PRIDE!!! THIS WILL BE HISTORY!!!

  2. kristoftk says:

    Carmelo is a great scorer, but his shot selection is really bad.

    He should look for the best shot like Durant and James do instead of taking the first shot after one dribble

  3. DW#3 says:

    If Lebron took as many shots as Melo, he would average 40+pts/game…outdistancing the field and win scoring title by 10+pts/game period

  4. forgetMavs says:

    If Celtics use Jason Terry right, it can be a seven games series. They tend to forget J. Terry beat the hell out of Heats and won the title. I saw Jet only plays a minimum role there. What a pity.

  5. Flamengo says:

    MELO M.V.P

  6. theholyspectator says:

    people also forget despite him havin a pretty terrible offensive game, they pushed it to overtime…had JR not gotten suspended, the knicks would have easily swept…JR would put in at least 18-25. and knowing coach woodson, seeing how bad melo was playin he woulda left JR in there longer….but hey theyll win game 5 so itll all work out…RIP celtics

  7. Brain32 says:

    Blablablabla, fact is the league made a perfect setup for this to happen and I agree, in a game that could be a career ender for legends such as Pierce and Garnett getting swept at home court would just leave bad taste, this way they can honorably loose in the MSG and that’s it.
    Last year I didn’t even want to watch the finals once Boston got out for Miami to go to the finals but that was a completely different team, this years Celtics unfortunately just don’t have the tools to make a push and that’s painfully obvious.
    One bad night by Anthony is just a sidekick story if you can even call it a story at all…

  8. melooo says:

    Lets go knicks!

  9. Zakee says:

    Carmelo is just as good as your top 5 players whom ever they are this man lead the knicks to a 53-28 record best since 1994 and 2nd in Eastern conference. The New york knicks are relevant again. Oh lets not forget Darren Williams suppose to be the best player in New York on the best team in New York. Go KNICKS!

  10. Simon says:

    wed. he’ll be back and sweep the celtics because he will play again with his soul and with his team.
    The knicks are the only team to beat the heat and they will beat them.
    One bad game isn’t a bad playoffyear… wait a little an trust the MELOMAN

  11. Shawn says:

    Yes it was a bad day for Melo, and a great day for Pierce. One thing i noticed, Melo didnt smile as much. He was playing, but his heart wasnt there. He seemed a little sad to me. I hope he doesnt have too many distractions outiside of the game? and that the energy that surrounds him is all positive and unselfish. Pick up his spirit a bit.. That matters. Its great that he takes good care of his health, and hopefully sleeps well! He is a great player and yes we all have bad days and we just go through the motions. I would not say he regressed… thats a bit strong and underserving… but again, it may have appeared that way.

  12. Wed? says:

    Why so long?

  13. Boere says:

    I actually thought Melo played a pretty good game. How many Celtics ended up in foul trouble because of not being able to stop him? His shot selection was not very different than normal.

  14. Agree says:

    Boston won 1 game and everybody is like whoooohoho!camoon don’t be stupid BOSTON IS NOT GOING TO WIN THE SERIES
    Wednesday NY will crush Celtics EVERYBODY IS GOING TO SEE THAT SLAUGHTER

  15. Agree says:

    I agree whit melooo!Melo is going to get the mvp award he has played all season long by himself and NEW YORK is going great.Lebron has dwade and bosh Durant has westbrook.What about Melo okay (JRsmith)but he’s not that great player.

  16. Melooo says:

    U are just jealousy,Melo is the best player in nba,WHOO win the scoring championship.Celtics won 1game and everyone is like whoooouooh Celtics will win the series.WTF.NY is better get over it!!!

  17. Edub says:

    When he was hitting the shots, there were no complaints. But because they lost, Melo is looked at the reason for them losing? Other than missing the FT’s I don’t see how it’s his fault. He’s the go to guy, J.R Smith was suspended, and they needed the extra offense. Raymond Felton stepped up and Shumpert contributed 12 points but to criticize Anthony just because they lost, even though he’s shot almost as many times the first 3 games and they won, is stupid. Only the smart NBA watchers and Knicks fans see this.

    • JustSayn says:

      Agreed @ Edub, When he is hitting those shots, we love him, he’s been our saviour. However when your watching a game like Game 4 was, you sit and wonder as a player and a fan, why does he keep shooting if nothing is going in? I appreciate you still put up shots if you miss a few to get going, but after 3 quarters and your only really getting points off the free throw line? Not to mention the Celtics have an easy time defending us knowing who’s going to take the shot!
      You saw Felton light it up in the 3rd quarter ( Most of it while Anthony was sitting out ) why not come back and get your team more involved?
      He is a phenominal scorer and player don’t get me wrong, however the article is spot on, if he continues to play like he did Game 4 and not realise when they’re not dropping, we will have a repeat of last season guaranteed. We started this season off with much improved defense, ball rotation and everyone getting involved. This starts with your team leader, leading the way. We need to get back to that kind of play in order to compete in the 2nd round and potentially finals!

      With all that said, I look forward to Game 5 and I know we will get the job done, I just pray that it’s a team effort this time. No one man can win it all in my opinion. #KnicksTape

  18. Leinad says:

    thats been the issue for melo in his past career but im glad that he matured so much.. but i gotta admit last game his shot selection was poor… well give the guy a break , 1 performance?… lets not say he made a step back.. i hope he bounce back and beat the celtics

    • mike says:

      not 1 game…he shoots poorly A LOT …5 for 23 15 for 35 …7 for 21 etc… i mean anyone can be scoring champ if they take 35 shots hahahahah

  19. Remember that history gets made everyday!!!

  20. LMAO-Comon man-give the Celtics some credit top 5 avg pt defense reg season. I’m not surprised they won sunday.

  21. WTF!!! says:

    Why have an article about Anthony that plays what he did the last time against the Celtics while Kobe doesn’t who’d been playing like that since he enter his prime (No, I think from the time he enters the NBA)? Is it better for Melo to get criticized than Kobe. In reality, they are very similar to each other… don’t you agree?

  22. jonny says:

    Melo shot 34% again 2 years in a row he is clearly not the best scorer in the league KD, LBJ, even CP3 shoot a lot better then him

  23. Melo goes down says:

    The season is wearing already on Melo. Tired, running on fumes, overweight out of shape. The reincarnation of Alan Iverson playing iso-ball. All that’s missing is a few unregistedred guns in the glove box. Oh, wait that’s coming

  24. Fred says:

    My Celtics will force a game 7.

  25. thatguy says:

    Just another example of how Melo is an inconsistent, ball hog of a player.. when he’s in a slump he always just tries to shoot out of it. This isnt the first time melo did probably won’t be the last…melo is great but things like this is why he’ll never be as good as LeBron. Because of ball hogging immature moves like this

  26. Yup says:

    “Melo’s Regression Helps Celts Stay Alive”

    Thanks Melo for letting the Celts win! Forget KG’s amazing D and rebounding and Jason Terry’s late game clutch shots, the only person anyone cares about is Melo,,,

  27. RocketsThunderFan says:

    I still think the Knicks will win even though I like the Celtics more. Plus, I think the Knicks have a better chance to beat Miami. I think Miami will win the East but Knicks & Pacers could do better than most expect.

  28. BlackDove- says:

    The way the Knicks played game 3 was perfect ball.
    Theyll be fine

  29. Celtics Forever says:

    I hope the Celtics will make history by being the first team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

    • boston says:

      i hope so too only if rondo can play with all his skills then i’m sure they can make history

  30. Jul3z says:

    I dont know how many times i’ve read something similar this year about Carmelo. This was probably one game out of the past 20 that he has shot poorly in. There is also one key thing that people dont calculate when looking at shot attempts with Carmelo Anthony. When he plays bully ball down low for tip ins sometimes he gets 3 or 4 shots in a row that miss before he eventually gets the bucket. But looking at the stats they tell a different story, i just get irritated when i see people mentioning this but there are clearly other factors in the game besides statistics. SMMFH! Do people even watch the game before writing posts like this?

  31. zayvado says:

    Looks nice when he’s making shots but tonight he clearly shot his team out the ball game….you’d think he see what was working…..

  32. Anonymous says:

    NBA, please dont suger coat anything. Melo was ball hogging (again!)

  33. TT says:

    The Knicks will humiliate the Celtics at the Garden. That’ll appease everybody.

  34. Patty says:



    • Pakyaw says:

      @patty, just shut up..,ur lakers are done, time for you to go fishing with them…your hate and jealousy are no longer needed

      • Bespoken says:

        That’s why he’s salty. His Lakers are a mess he needs to channel the anger to something.