Today is the NBA’s first day off since the playoffs began. So, in the spirit of an off day, let’s regroup and discuss the winners and losers of the playoffs so far.
Golden State’s backcourt: Stephen Curry is playing out of his mind and is capturing the attention of the nation’s basketball fans. He set records this season, but his coming out party is currently in session. Curry is averaging 26.5 points in the playoffs to go along with 8.9 assists and 2.0 steals. He is knocking down 46.3 percent of his shots and 43.1 percent of his three pointers. Curry has owned the third quarter, and not to mention, he led the sixth-seeded Warriors to a first round series victory over the Nuggets and has stolen home court advantage from the Spurs.
Klay Thompson’s value to the Warriors has been on display in the first two games of the second round. In game one, he fouled out, and then the Warriors collapsed. In game two, he notched 34 points including 29 in the first half. Thompson is averaging 17.6 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 47.9 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from downtown. His effectiveness allows Mark Jackson to play him at small forward late in the game, so Jarrett Jack and Curry can pair in the backcourt. This creates a much quicker lineup, which is much more difficult for San Antonio to contain.
Don’t forget Jack. He is shooting an even 50.0 percent from the floor in the playoffs, averaging 17.0 points, 6.0 assists and 4.6 rebounds. His veteran leadership and knowledge of when to slow down the offense has benefitted the Warriors all playoffs, especially Wednesday night when they almost collapsed again.
The Knicks and Grizzlies head into tonight’s matchups facing a 1-0 series deficit. New York lost home court advantage when it laid an egg in game one against Indiana. Memphis lost on a Kevin Durant mid-range jumper with 11 seconds left, and put up much harder of a fight than did the Knicks. If either team wants to even the series up before traveling to a new venue, here is what they must do:
Carmelo Anthony is not deserving of MVP chants at the free throw line.
Carmelo Anthony should not be mentioned in the same breath as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant. Ever.
Carmelo Anthony is the biggest misconception in the NBA.
Many of my Twitter followers have taken exception to my criticism of Anthony. I, like many of my followers, am a Knicks fan. I, like very few of my followers, am a realist and am not blinded by the false light that shines off of Melo. I realize that his one trip out of the first round in nine seasons is, for the most part, because of his selfish, stagnant, isolation style of offense and lazy, effortless, lackadaisical style of defense. I was also probably the only Knicks fan on planet Earth to be disappointed when the Knicks shipped Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov to the Nuggets for Anthony. I have always expressed by displeasure with Melo and his game, but last night, I hit my breaking point. To me, as a basketball writer and a sports fan in general, it is a disgrace to the sport of basketball the way Melo has acted and approached the past two games with the Celtics on the brink of elimination. Superstar? Please.
Enough about me. My rant is over. This article is about Carmelo Anthony. No writer is ever supposed to do this, but I’m breaking the rules just once: I’m stating my intentions with this piece. My goal is not to make everyone who reads this turn on Anthony, hate Anthony or root against Anthony. Because, you’d better believe, if he hits a game-winner in game six, ill be cheering as loud as anyone. But, not for him. For the team I love to root for. My goal is to make everybody realize that they need to get past the Carmelo Anthony smokescreen that the media has created and realize that he is a selfish basketball player with exceptional skills, who is incapable of being a team player.