Chris Baldwin: ‘W’ not top priority for ’Melo
Carmelo Anthony wants to win — if he can win his way. If not, the win’s not such a big deal. If Amar’e Stoudemire is dominating the fourth quarter, making Kevin Garnett look as old as Brett Favre, putting on a highlight drive that Kobe Bryant would envy … well, ’Melo’s not down with winning like that.
So he’ll try to force himself back into prominence, fire up a bad jumper, commit an offensive foul and then throw up a thoughtless 3 in the final seconds. All the while ensuring that Stoudemire — who is clearly the best player on the floor — never touches the ball when it matters most.
The Boston Celtics couldn’t stop Stoudemire. But his running buddy could. This is why the Knicks still haven’t won a playoff game in 10 years.
Anthony is just being himself, doing what’s made him rich, famous and pampered. He’s one of the best college basketball players of the last 15 years even though he only played one season at Syracuse. ’Melo grasped the college game like Kevin Durant, a superior pro, never did. He embraced the burden of being the shining star, the superior talent that could drag others along in a college landscape where those types of talents are rarer and rarer.
Anthony won it all in college largely because he never shied away from being the man. He’ll never win it all in the NBA largely because he can’t stand not being the man.
This is the risk the Knicks knew they were taking when they blew up their spare parts to get a second star. Mike D’Antoni has to defend Anthony’s shot selection on the final possession of Game 1. He’s already made the deal with the devil.
So D’Antoni will talk about how Anthony is a great closer, about how he can live with ’Melo’s (selfish) decision making.
If the Knicks find a great point guard — if the Chris Paul trio dream ever works out — maybe it will be different. For Paul would have never stood for Stoudemire not touching the ball.
Even when he’s not crumpled on the floor, holding his knee, Chauncey Billups no longer commands that type of respect. Certainly not from ’Melo. Billups was already his flunky in Denver.
The problem is that Stoudemire looks as good as anyone in the game right now. Who knows how long that lasts? This series may be already gone, with the Celtics having regained their footing, with Billups having lost his.
At least, with Amar’e and ’Melo, you know it will be good TV. They know drama. When did harmonious sharing ever sell?
–Chris Baldwin covers the sports media for Metro.
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