Can Anyone Guard NY Knicks' Carmelo Anthony?
The former Syracuse star is second in the league in scoring with 27.9 points per game, and leading scorer Kobe Bryant went as so far to tell ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that Anthony is the toughest cover in the game:
"For me, yeah," Bryant told Stephen A. Smith in an interview Wednesday.
"He's always been a player that I enjoyed guarding the most," Bryant said. "He was the most difficult because of his size and his speed."
Bryant added that Anthony's shooting range and his ability to drive to the rim and score in the post make him one of the most lethal offensive weapons in the NBA.
"Melo does it all and he's as strong as a bull," Bryant said. "For me, I weigh [180 pounds] soaking wet. Going up against that bull, man, it's fun but it's extremely challenging."
It proved to be an incredible challenge for Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers, who just happened to face Anthony's Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. New York won 116-107 and Anthony absolutely torched the Lakers in the first quarter.
He was guarded by pest extraordinaire Metta World Peace, but still could not be slowed down. Anthony scored an incredible 22 points in the first quarter alone and had 30 on the night before leaving with a sprained ankle in the third quarter.
Opposing players may not want to admit it, but Bryant believes it and Anthony proved it last night. The man is simply unguardable.
He is so good at creating his own shot and shooting with a hand in his face that it's as though he has x-ray vision whenever someone is covering him.
Anthony's field goal percentage is currently at 47 percent, his highest since 2008. From three-point land, he is shooting a career-best 46 percent.
Helping Anthony's case is the overall diversity of his offense. Believe it or not, he is most consistent from mid and long range, with most of his scoring struggles occurring right under the basket. He is still shooting 50 percent from there, only making him all the more dangerous on offense.
That isn't to say that Anthony is completely invincible. In the Knicks' victory against the San Antonio Spurs on November 15, he was held to nine points on 3 of 12 shooting. As great a scorer as he is, even he cannot escape the occasional bad game, though he did manage 12 rebounds in this one.
Can Carmelo Anthony be guarded?
Just the same, that is just one instance. Anthony's consistency this season has been unbelievable, and nobody has been able to guard him effectively. Even in Knicks' losses, he has managed to be effective.
Opposing teams, fans and players may not want to hear it, but the man simply cannot be guarded. He is just too good and his basketball IQ is just too high.
Knicks fans have been chanting MVP for him all season long and if he keeps playing the way he has, he certainly will be rewarded as such.
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