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Is Mike Woodson running Carmelo Anthony into the ground?


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#1 Majesty

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Posted March 13, 2013 - 01:41 AM

Nobody seems to know what’s up with Carmelo Anthony’s knee, which seems like a problem
Ball Don't Lie - Tue Mar 12 2013, 1:45 PM EDT




After missing three games following an awkward stumble and fall against the Cleveland Cavaliers that apparently aggravated an already "stiff and sore" right knee , Carmelo Anthony returned to the lineup for the New York Knicks on Monday. Well, actually, that's not true — a pale imitation of Anthony took the floor at Oracle Arena last night, a version that featured precious little of the lift, quickness, offensive aggression and touch we're accustomed to seeing from the NBA's second-leading scorer.

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Anthony struggled his way to 14 points on 4 for 15 shooting in 33 1/2 minutes of play as the Knicks suffered a 92-63 beatdown at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. His lack of lateral quickness and burst was evident not only on the offensive end, where he struggled to gain separation from Golden State defenders, but also on D; while you wouldn't call Melo a plus defender, he was a decided minus on Monday, beaten multiple times off the bounce and in the post by the likes of David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson.

Carmelo's sluggishness wasn't the only reason the Knicks got punked, of course. There were plenty of other places to point fingers — the 21 terrible pre- questionable-ejection minutes from J.R. Smith, for example, or the continued pointlessness of starting James White to do nothing for five or so minutes. Maybe the inability of Jason Kidd and Steve Novak to hit anything (0 for 9 combined, including 0 for 7 from 3-point range) or the putrid shot-making overall (take out Chris Copeland's 5 for 11 mark and the rest of the Knicks made just 24.2 percent of their shots). And, of course, New York's love affair with going under high screens against knockdown shooters like Thompson and Stephen Curry (49 combined points on 18 for 36 shooting, including 10 for 17 from deep), along with myriad other defensive breakdowns.

A clearly hampered Anthony certainly didn't help matters, though, and a Knicks team that can no longer rely on offensive infusions from two-time debridement patient Amar'e Stoudemire really can't afford a fractured, compromised facsimile of Anthony. They might not have to; after all, Monday's performance came after a week on the shelf, opening the door to the "rust" explanation. But with the fluid, stiffness and soreness all still there behind his right knee, it's at least possible that this might be the new normal for Melo ... and, perhaps worst of all, nobody really seems to know whether it is or isn't.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post :

"There’s no pain at all. Just stiffness," Anthony said at San Francisco's Olympic Club. "Nobody really can give me an exact answer on it. Because there's no pain or ligament damage. Just fluid in the back of the knee that's prevented me from hyperextending my leg. Nothing of that nature. None of that. No surgery.

"Just a matter of getting tight in the back of the knee. Nothing in the front of the knee. No pain. No soreness. Just some irritation."

As Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News notes , the absence of an explanation for why the fluid is pooling behind the knee sure seems troubling. So does the uncertainty, reported by Newsday's Al Iannazzone , as to whether Anthony has even "undergone [any] more tests than the MRI he had at some point before the Cavaliers game." (The combination of no explanation and no clear diagnosis also makes it difficult to understand how Anthony can know that "no surgery" will be required.)

Ditto for the news that, after consulting with the Knicks' medical staff, Anthony decided against having the fluid drained out because "I'm not a big fan of getting needles." (This has led to some head-scratching over how he's endured this much tattoo work over the years.) And Anthony's apparent self-assessment that "I don't think I'll ever be 100 percent" again this season. And Anthony's tracing of the knee injury back to the hyperextension he suffered on Christmas Day, except that what's hurt now is his right knee, while that injury was to his left . (Still, his production has dropped off pretty considerably since that Dec. 25 injury .)

The sum of these troubling, curious bits leaves Anthony in a precarious position — at this point, he told Howard Beck of the New York Times , the approach appears to be "just trying to get through it, just figure it out, kind of see what I can do, what I can’t do." Well, on Monday, the "can't do" list included "get more than a few inches of air on your jumper" and "slide your feet quickly enough to stay in front of David Lee," while the "can do" list was limited, basically, to "do a nice job on the offensive glass" (where five of Melo's 10 rebounds came).

It was a grim effort virtually from the start, one that had announcers and fans remarking on how Anthony didn't look like himself nearly from the opening tip ... after which Anthony played the entire first quarter, sat for the first four minutes of the second, and then played the entire rest of the first half despite A) looking sort of like death and B) Knicks coach Mike Woodson having said prior to the game that he'd try to limit Anthony's minutes as he worked his way back.

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Woodson's extended riding of Anthony is nothing new — Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal detailed it last week before circling back to the question of whether Anthony should slide from the power forward position at which he had so much success earlier this season back down to his more natural small forward position to save him a bit of a beating. It seemed exceptionally ridiculous on Monday, though, especially when — after subbing a clearly laboring Melo out with the Knicks down 27 with 2:14 left in the third quarter — Woodson put him back in with the Warriors' lead down to 20 less than three minutes into the fourth quarter.

Why did Woodson reinsert Anthony with the Knicks down huge after he'd already played 30 minutes and was moving around like a man who absolutely shouldn't have been rushed back?

"I was hoping maybe we can make a run," the coach said, according to Berman .

If that sounds pennywise, pound-foolish and potentially dangerous to you ... well, then, you're probably a Knicks fan, too. And maybe the scariest thing of all? It's probably going to keep happening.

Woodson conceded to Beck that there's "a strong possibility" that neither Stoudemire nor Rasheed Wallace return this season, but seems opposed to cutting Wallace loose to open a roster spot that could be filled by another healthy body. Woodson continues to refuse to play Copeland unless forced to, because, while the 28-year-old can score the ball, he continues to struggle within the Knicks' defensive scheme. Woodson continues to start White despite his mostly non-NBA play, continues to turn to Kurt Thomas despite defenses basically ignoring him, and continues to favor Kidd over reserve Pablo Prigioni, even on nights when Kidd can't hit and Prigioni's dribble penetration could make things a bit easier for other shooters.

All of which is to say: After an early-season stretch of brilliant decision-making and string-pulling that had New York looking like a much more multifaceted offensive machine than the one that ended last season, Woodson now seems to be making decisions that make the Knicks easier to defend and, naturally, more reliant on their precious few shot creators. One of them, Smith, is a 40 percent shooter who's about as wild as wild cards get . Another, Stoudemire, is now off the board. A third, Felton, is prone to stretches where he either can't hit the broad side of a barn himself or, as was the cast last night, just stops attacking (zero field-goal attempts, two free-throw attempts, one assist, one turnover in the second half).


That leaves Anthony, the guy whose knee might be a mystery but whose role isn't — carry us. Maybe we can make a run before the end of the season, and hold off the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics despite having 12 of the last 21 on the road and 13 of 21 against .500-or-better teams. And maybe, if we do, you'll still be able to run when you get there.

Nobody really seems to know for sure, though, and that casts an awful lot about these Knicks into doubt.


Wow... Just wow... Know I sort of find it ironic how people at the start of the season were bashing D'antoni for some of his decision making and praising Woodson for his and his defense and decision making.

Now our defense ranks higher than the Knicks and look at the decisions Woodson is making.

Its an interesting turn of events really. But darn reading that I feel bad for Melo.. He ain't been the same since he tried to play "physical" against Artest in the Christmas game against us. A lesson he learned too late after the fact is not wise.. He got his points..but at the cost of his season apparently. He ain't been right since then and his body ain't been right. So then when this comes out AFTER Woodson said he'd ease him into the game, I really feel for the guy.

What do you guys think?

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#2 Real Deal

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Posted March 13, 2013 - 05:07 AM

For one, Carmelo Anthony has been running Carmelo Anthony into the ground, for years.  Instead of learning how to facilitate, he has decided to stay in scoring mode, and now, he can't rely on a teammate to take over the game while he's on the court.

 

I've watched a lot of Knicks games, because they were the team coming in that I was hoping could knock Miami out of their throne.  The article points to Kidd and others shooting poorly in that game vs. the Warriors.  Well, ALL SEASON LONG, the Knicks have been an incredible three-point shooting team.

 

Just recently, they've hit a slump...but are still top 10 in 3PT%, probably top 3 in makes and attempts, top 10 in scoring, and they NEVER turn the ball over.

 

Defensively, they've hit a wall.  No excuse for it, considering who they have (Chandler, Shump, Kidd, Smith).  But, guess who doesn't play defense?  Carmelo Anthony.

 

In addition to that, aside from Melo not evolving as a player, the defense started to fade out when Amare was inserted back into the lineup.

 

The Knicks are 17-14 since Amare's return on January 1st, with a previous record of 21-9.  Almost everyone's FG% has dropped, three-point shooting has dropped slightly, defense has fell significantly, and Carmelo isn't playing like he was in November and December.

 

That's not exactly on Amare, at least not all of it.  Offensively, Stoudemire is doing just fine...but him and Carmelo cannot play together.  They both need to ball to be effective, both are best at the four (and this was evident with Anthony since the start of the season), and Mike Woodson, who was never a good coach to begin with, has no answers for any of it.

 

Now that Amare is out...well, the team is dysfunctional and tilted.  JR Smith now feels like he can drop 30+ in every game, Raymond Felton isn't playing with a chip on his shoulder anymore, Carmelo is running out of gas, and Chandler is wearing down.

 

Some teams can get through a season without crashing and burning.  It doesn't feel like the Knicks are going to be one of those teams this year.



#3 Majesty

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Posted March 13, 2013 - 01:37 PM

Nope they look like they are truly beginning to falter. Which sucks as I have a feeling they could lose to the Jazz when they play.

But Carmelo really hasn't seemed himself since that Christmas game when he tried ti "out-muscle" Artest. It doesn't help that suddenly when he's in the game Woodson somehow forgets to use everyone else. When Carmelo isn't playing, Woodson seems to have an idea of how to run an offense, how to get the ball moving and find guys for the right shot. Play like a team really. But when Carmelo's back their offense has become at this point "throw the ball to Melo and hope he bails us out.". It was evident within the Warriors game when they crawled back to within 20 rather than staying with the lineup and resting Carmelo on a terrible night he threw him back in to try to bring them back.


That is the problem. Carmelo was obviously not on form, was exhausted, spent, hurt and burnt out, and the team seemed to start to find some kind of rhythm without him..so what does Woodson do? Throw him back out there.. Of course!


Honestly he'd benefit having someone like a Kobe Bryant on the same team who seems to make a habit out of finding ways to make players that need the ball in their hand to be effective... effective.. Like Artest to an extent and Nash especially.

But Carmelo instead has JR Smith..who you described pretty well. Give Carmelo two more years of this and he'll be out of New York by 2014.

Edited by Majesty, March 13, 2013 - 01:45 PM.

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