It All Comes Back to Carmelo One More Time

Anthony has to do just about everything for the Knicks to keep breathing

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Carmelo's gotta keep it all together.

    After a season that saw the Knicks add Tyson Chandler, churn violently through dozens of lineups, deal with injuries to key players, change coaches and move players in and out of the rotation, the Knicks are pretty much back where they were after one playoff game last year.

    It's Carmelo Anthony against the world just as it was against the Celtics last year after Amar'e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups went down with injuries. Melo almost pulled out Game Two, but the Knicks limped off meekly from there and extended their postseason losing streak to 10 games.

    The streak stands at 11 right now and it will be an NBA record 14 unless Anthony can lead them to a win that feels unlikely. Anthony will have to score, distribute and defend to help the Knicks make up for the players who are missing (Iman Shumpert, Jeremy Lin) or limited (Chandler, Stoudemire, Jared Jeffries, Baron Davis).

    It would be hard to feel good about anything Knicks after Saturday, but it would be slightly easier if Anthony hadn't been as much of a dud as his teammates. He shot 3-for-15 and couldn't do a thing to keep the floor from falling out from under the Knicks.

    Saturday's struggles weren't just because the touch that Anthony rode to a brilliant April suddenly disappeared. They were also due in large part to a Miami defensive scheme devoted to fronting the Knicks forward and making it harder to get the ball into his hands in spots where he could do damage.

    The Knicks will have to make an adjustment if the Heat are going with that kind of approach again because there's simply not much chance they will win the game without a superlative performance from Anthony. That doesn't just mean scoring because they will need to get points from Stoudemire and outside shooting as well as Anthony if they are going to win.

    It's a lot to ask of one man, but there really doesn't seem to be any other way to approach whatever is left of this Knicks season. If you need any more evidence of that, just take a look at the way the Knicks are trying to rush Lin back into action.

    Turning to Lin saved the Knicks season once already, but that lightning isn't striking twice. The only way the Knicks have a chance of salvaging this series is if Anthony puts on an even greater show than he put on for the last month of the regular season.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.