Alan Hahn's post on New York Knicks | Latest updates on Sulia
On the maddening disappearance of Carmelo's scoring touch and how he gets his groove back:
The rest of us only know of The Zone for a fleeting few moments. It's an incredible rush. Catch-and-shoot with no feeling at all and the damn thing goes in. Money.
When it goes, you just shrug. That was fun, now back to being a mortal.
But when you watch Steph Curry last night in San Antonio, or Carmelo Anthony through pretty much the entire month of April, you see a Zone that appears to have perpetuity. It's like someone switched on the cheat code. It's an unfair advantage.
And it's so easy for the shooter to get lazy. Shots come easy. Off-balance, one-leg, spinning -- regardless. Every shot is pure.
The problem comes when they stop going in. You think to yourself, 'I'm not doing anything differently.' But you are. In fact, you have been for a while. You just didn't realize it because every damn shot was just a trip to the ATM. Not my ATM, not your ATM. Melo's ATM.
In his first three playoff games, Melo shot 46.2% and averaged 32 points per game. In his last four, he's shooting 31.8% and averaging 26.5 points.
A bulk of the issue is his scoring from behind the three-point arc. He's turned that shot into a weapon -- a devastating one at times -- over the last two seasons, but it's been a fickle device. He made 8 of his first 14 from downtown during the first three games against Boston. Since then? He's missed 22 of the next 24.
These things do come and go, but when they go, Melo has a hard-headed tendency to keep firing away. Mike Woodson would like to see him regroup and recalibrate.
"I just think some of the shots he's taking, he made early in the year, middle of the year . . . some of those shots are not falling," Woodson said, delicately identifying The Zone shots. "So we've got to find other means for him to score the ball. I've got to help him in that area, as well."
Melo seems to work happier in isolation, but he actually gets himself going into rhythm playing in pick-and-pop situations.
I expect to see some more "action" in sets called for him in Game 2. We'll see if he can find another access door into The Zone.