The "MVP, MVP" chants that have become ubiquitous around the NBA over the last few years are usually more annoying than enlightening.
Tuesday night in Brooklyn was one of those times when they were right on the money. Carmelo Anthony looked every inch an MVP candidate while leading the Knicks to a 100-97 win, right down to the final moments when Jason Kidd hit the three that won the game for the Knicks.
In past years, there's no way Anthony lets anyone else take that shot in a game against the Nets in Brooklyn with all kids of extra baggage placed on the result. Anthony wanted to be the hero and the only way he could understand how to play the hero was to take the final shot all by himself.
That would only be more true on a night that saw him score 45 points on 24 shots, almost single-handedly dragging the Knicks back into the game after they fell behind 26-9 early, and then scoring 15 more points in the fourth quarter to pull the Knicks out of another hole. Anthony had been carrying the team all night, so it would seem only natural that he'd do it again on the final play.
But he didn't and that's why the MVP chants actually make sense. The Knicks got two tries on their last possession and Anthony took neither of them, moving the ball around to J.R. Smith for the first shot and, after a great tip-out on the rebound by Tyson Chandler, Kidd buried an open three to win the game.
Anthony knew well by that point in the game that he was the best player on the court and that the Nets had no better chance of stopping him than hot butter has of stopping a knife, but he went to the top of the key and dragged the Nets defense into disarray with him to help lead to Kidd's wide-open look. Anthony's night was a masterpiece already and it only looks better because he knew when to say when.
We're probably not writing about this if Kidd's three rims out or if Deron Williams was able to hit his own wide-open look from three on a second chance. We're definitely not writing this if the Nets were able to capitalize on Andray Blatche's fairly dominant game or if Joe Johnson made the kind of impact you expect from someone being paid more than all but four other players in the NBA.
The narratives of MVP campaigns demand winning and the Nets absolutely should have won this game. Anthony's relentlessness was the biggest reason that they didn't and the best reason yet to serenade him with chants about awards months away from being handed out.