If you’ve been keyed in on the most disappointing playoff series at all, you’d know that before the Knicks dramatically eluded elimination yesterday against Miami, Carmelo Anthony owned the prestigious title of having the worst playoff record of any player with at least 50 postseason games. Now after his drama-bursting, 41-point Game 4 performance to keep the Knicks alive, he’s entered the record books for something else entirely.
According to The Wall Street Journal, since the 1986 Playoffs only 21 other times has someone scored 40 or more points with their team facing elimination. Anthony just turned in No. 22. The rest of the list reads like something off a discussion about the top 50 players of all time: Dwyane Wade (twice); Dirk Nowitzki; Paul Pierce; Chauncey Billups; Shaquille O’Neal; Allen Iverson (twice); Ray Allen; Tracy McGrady; Reggie Miller; Anfernee Hardaway (twice); Hakeem Olajuwon; Clyde Drexler; Charles Barkley; Michael Jordan (twice); Patrick Ewing; and Sleepy Floyd.
In other words, if you’re going to consistently rip him for only getting out of the first round once, you need to acknowledge when he does produce some history on the opposite end. The Knicks never should’ve won yesterday; during the second quarter, they trotted out a lineup of J.R. Smith, Josh Harrellson, Mike Bibby, Steve Novak and Jared Jeffries. Their second-best player was a one-handed Amar’e Stoudemire. Their starting point guard dislocated his knee cap and had to go join their other starting point guard, already out with his own knee issue. They trailed by as many as 11 in the second half. And they did all of this against the prohibitive favorites to represent the East in the NBA Finals.
Anthony’s had some big playoff moments. He averaged 27.2 points a game for a Nuggets team that came oh, so close to the NBA Finals. The following spring, he dropped 30.7 points and 8.5 rebounds in a series against Utah. With his incredible season-saver yesterday, we wanted to spotlight Anthony’s five best postseason games of his career.