Redemption Song: Carmelo Anthony Saves the Day

Big lead vanishes, but Anthony makes Knicks winners anyway

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Mar 10, 2011  |  Updated 7:30 AM EDT
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Redemption Song: Carmelo Anthony Saves the Day

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"I do this." 

That's what Carmelo Anthony told the Grizzlies bench with 0.5 seconds left in Memphis on Wednesday night, just after he drilled a jumper to give the Knicks a 110-108 road win.

It came at the end of a frantic fourth quarter that saw the Knicks blow a 17-point lead when their shooting touch went ice cold.

Anthony played a role in the collapse. He was responsible for the final three Grizzlies points when he gave Zach Randolph a soft foul on a layup, enabling the erstwhile Knick to make the shot and get a free throw with 14 seconds to play. That miscue didn't stop the Knicks from giving him the ball in isolation at the other end and when Tony Allen gave him an inch, 'Melo took a mile.

That the shot went in was both fitting and shocking. Fitting because, as he mentioned, this is what Anthony does. It's the reason why the pursuit of his services turned into an all-encompassing reality show and it is why the Knicks were willing to throw everything but the kitchen sink to Denver to grab him. It was his first game-winner. It won't be his last.

It was also shocking because the Knicks spent the fourth quarter looking like a team that couldn't throw a ping pong ball into the Grand Canyon. They had made just 5-of-19 shots in the final period, which seemed like a natural regression after nailing 60 percent of their tries in the first three quarters. They stopped moving their bodies and the ball, settled for contested shots and nearly gave away a game that they had in their pocket.

A strange development, but it was a strange night. The Knicks went to the free throw line just four times compared to 35 trips for Memphis, something that kept the Grizz alive while they were standing and watching the Knicks post another big scoring night.

The Grizzlies also picked pockets like it was 1983 in Times Square, picking up 13 steals that led to easy buckets at the other end and punishing the few mistakes the Knicks made in the first 36 minutes.

All of that made it look like the stage was set for a loss that left you shaking your head and cursing to the heavens. Until Carmelo, of course. He still left you shaking your head, but there wasn't any cursing whatsoever.

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.

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