When your defense is based around giving up midrange jump shots because it's a highly inefficient shot that clogs offensive flow, what do you do when someone starts to make them at an shocking rate of success?
I suppose the answer is what we saw tonight.
Carmelo Anthony went nuts from the midrange and all over the court for 62 points on 35 shots, a career high, Knicks franchise high, and Madison Square Garden high. Melo broke records held by Bernard King and Kobe Bryant. That's insane! Watching history in the NBA is always fun, as frustrating as it can be for Bobcats fans tonight.
But if you watched the game then you can take solace in knowing there are about 40 games left in the season and this one performance will not define this team. The individual moments provide us with momentary ups and downs, however. Like this game. Like when Gerald Henderson throws an errant pass and it bounces off a poor fans head. Moments like those are why so much of us are basketball fans, and while a loss will always suck, sometimes you have to enjoy history.
What Melo did was absolutely incredible. But the Bobcats fell apart. As Melo started to cook, the team started to panic. There was no system. It was a bunch of guys running around unsure of what to do. The offense stopped running consistent plays and the defense wasn't communicating or being cohesive much at all. The players looked defeated. I realize that when you're getting beat it's hard to motivate yourself to keep going 100 percent and all those other trying hard cliches but, dammit, you can't go out there and not look like a professional basketball team.
Al Jefferson went 11-for-19 and scored 25 points with 9 rebounds. On any normal night that would have been a pretty great stat line. Tonight it was overshadowed by the Bobcats' bad defense and Melo's historic night. Jefferson found himself being guarded by the likes of Cole Aldrich and Jeremy Tyler. Neither Aldrich or Tyler could handle Jefferson's craftiness.
The rest of the Bobcats played a pretty bad game all around. Nobody played any good defense and the offense was a total mess. Ramon Sessions was attacking the rim a lot to try and get something going for the guards but his shots were hotly contested. Nobody on the Bobcats was able to make the Knicks defense pay for anything besides Jefferson.
The biggest mismatch the Knicks didn't get punished for was how often Raymond Felton was guarding Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Whether it was the gameplan to have him hang on the perimeter and not really get the ball on offense or not, I don't know. But you can't have a big athletic guy like Kidd-Gilchrist on a point guard who struggles defensively with him and not be able to take advantage of that. This really concerns me with how much the Bobcats trust Kidd-Gilchrist on offense.
The Knicks were almost perfect on offense thanks to Melo. His scoring made everything to go right for the Knicks, more or less. New York got plenty of open shots and movement with space to work with because of his proficiency tonight. He had 37 points in the first half and never let up. He was a huge reason as to why the Knicks offense dominated the Bobcats.
Watching the Bobcats, I've become used to the occasional blowout. Historical nights like this don't happen very often though, so despite the blowout I have to be honest and say I had fun watching that game. As far as final thoughts on the game goes, it happens. Just gotta take the punch to the mouth and come back next game.