Alan Hahn's post on New York Knicks | Latest updates on Sulia
Carmelo Anthony is not why the #Knicks lost this series. But did he give more fuel to his critics? More:
When you consider the list of teammates who came up small when it mattered most, Melo's 39 points and 7 rebounds -- including 15 points in a third quarter that saw the Knicks rally back -- are the type of numbers that superstars put up when facing elimination.
But while his supporting cast, mainly his sidekick J.R. Smith, failed him miserably throughout this series, Melo also came up short at the critical moments in the fourth quarter.
He was 2 for 7 in the final quarter, which included a meaningless dunk that the Pacers gave up in the final minute. In three road games in this series, Melo shot 2 for 14 in the fourth quarter.
"A couple of shots, I felt the ball was almost in," he said of his looks, with Paul George shadowing him as usual. We got what we wanted to get. They just didn't go down."
Mike Woodson didn't want to hear any Melo slander.
"All we can do is put Melo in position to be successful," Woodson said. "I thought Melo played a solid game for us, I really did."
This was his best season as a pro. At 29, Melo won his first NBA scoring title, carried the Knicks throughout a 54-win season and advanced in the playoffs for just the second time in his career.
But the goal of leading the Knicks to a championship was too heavy of a burden to carry himself. Much like a star before him named Patrick Ewing.
"Overall, we still had a hell of a season, a hell of a year," Melo said. "We took some steps forward as a team, as an organization . . . It's a learning curve for us and we'll be back better and stronger."
But who will be back and for how much longer? The core players of this team, plus the coach, are all under contract for just two more seasons.
In fact, something that is often overlooked is Melo's contract has an early termination option before the 2014-15 season, which means he could become a free agent in the summer of 2014 at the age of 31.