With Amar'e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin not in the lineup for the New York Knicks, someone needed to step up and become a leader.
Despite not having the best of his now nine NBA seasons, Anthony knows that now is the time he has to step up and be a leader. There are different ways to do that.
Anthony could have made the case to the media that he wants to be a leader and wants to be the guy, like the guy on the other bench last night in Dwight Howard did for four months. But actions speak louder than words. While Howard was pouting on the bench drawing attention to himself by not getting up during a timeout, Anthony was busy showing why he's a leader.
He's playing in pain. He's playing out of position at times. But none of that really matters .
The Knicks needed Anthony to step up and deliver and he did exactly that.
Anthony came through with his best game in a long time, a 25-point, five-rebound, six-assist effort in only 26 minutes of action. More impressively, he was an efficient 9-of-15 shooting the ball, something that's been a huge problem of late.
Melo's also been a key component of the real reason the Knicks have turned things around as of late and that's been his effort on the defensive end of the floor.
It's about sending a message.
If a superstar such as Anthony can buy into Mike Woodson's message and show that type of effort on a nightly basis, that sends the message that everyone should.
The message has been received, as his Knicks teammates have taken notice. Point guard Baron Davis told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor after the game.
"It definitely fires everybody up to see your star player out there sacrificing his body and playing defense and doing all the little things," Davis said, "the intangible things, rebounding and blocking shots. It's definitely an inspiration to the guys who have the energy and the spunk to do it."
There's no doubt that if anyone needed a night like last night, it was Anthony. He not only needed to step up and have a good game, he needed to step up and be a leader.
That's what true leaders do. They let their actions do the talking for them.
Anthony knows what's needed from him as well. "I just want to step up," Anthony said. "That's it. I've got to take on that responsibility to try and win these basketball games."
If he keeps producing at a level like he did Wednesday night against the Magic, that won't be a problem at all.