After scoring just 25 points on 27 shots in his team’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, Carmelo Anthony preached the need for patience regarding his errant jumper.
“It will take a while. I’m still missing that power,’’ the eight-time All-Star told the New York Post. “I’m still missing that power especially on that jump shot. It’s more my jump shot than anything else. When I go off the dribble, I feel my power is there — just when I get set for the jumper. It’s just a matter of getting that back. That’ll take a couple of more weeks.”
A day later, Anthony proved his optimism wrong. Finding his shot didn’t take two weeks, but just less than 24 hours. Why? He was motivated by some harsh offseason talk from Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley.
The 31-year-old scored 37 points on 11-of-18 shooting and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the New York Knicks’ 117-110 win over the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on Saturday. If not for the supernova performance of Steph Curry, it would be Anthony’s big night that dominated league headlines the day after Halloween – especially considering the circumstances that fueled it.
Dudley made waves last May when he said New York’s high-octane scorer was the most overrated player in basketball. And as Anthony confirmed to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk after the game, that talk is something he definitely didn’t forget.
“Oh yeah, it got back to me,” Anthony said when asked about Dudley’s comments. “Definitely got back to me. I might not look at it and read all that stuff but it gets back to me.”
“It had nothing really to do with him but this was a game that I circled on my calendar. I’ll see him three more times.”
Was it simple bulletin board material that propelled Anthony to his best game of the season? Given his comments after Friday’s game and ensuing performance against Washington, that certainly seems the case. Carmelo wasn’t just knocking his jumper down from all over the floor following the opening tip, but saved his most difficult make for when it mattered most – and while being guarded by Dudley.
Dirty. That shot gave the Knicks a two-point lead with 1:35 remaining that they’d never relinquish. Derek Fisher’s team is now 2-1 on the season despite beginning it without the services of starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo.
And if Anthony can be a reasonable facsimile of the player he was on Saturday going forward, there won’t be any to reason believe New York can’t compete for a playoff spot this season – let alone evidence supporting Dudley’s claim.