Knicks vs. Hawks: How Atlanta Can Stop Hot-Shooting Carmelo Anthony

Joshua AxelrodCorrespondent IApril 3, 2013

The Hawks will have to stop Carmelo Anthony's hot streak to stand a chance of beating the Knicks.
The Hawks will have to stop Carmelo Anthony's hot streak to stand a chance of beating the Knicks.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks are going to have its hands full tonight trying to defend New York’s Carmelo Anthony, who went off for 50 points last night against the shorthanded Miami Heat.

Anthony has always been a natural scorer. When he is on a hot streak, opposing teams cannot hope to stop him.

If they employ the right strategy though, they might be able to contain him.

First and foremost, the Hawks need to put Dahntay Jones on Anthony and make him stay there all night. If Anthony so much as flinches, Jones should be ready to shut him down.

Jones is one of those Duke graduates who made a living in college off of annoying, hard-nosed defense and has taken that style of playing into the NBA. Sure, Anthony has two inches on him, but Jones' in-your-face style of defense is how you have to deal with a prolific scorer.

It does not hurt that he and Anthony were once teammates in Denver. Jones has hours upon hours of practice experience trying to stop him, which means he may have some insight into how to stop him.

Next, they need to stick with Anthony on pick-and-rolls. The Knicks love to isolate him for easy jumpers, and Anthony has the range and accuracy to be able to hit shots from anywhere on the court.

This is where Josh Smith will come into play. The 6’9” elite shot blocker is going to be doing a lot of switching onto Anthony when Jones gets caught behind Kenyon Martin or another Knicks big man.

If he can keep Anthony from getting quick shots off, the Hawks will have a chance. Sending a few of his shots into the stands would not hurt either.

The Hawks should be wary of double teams. Anthony is not the greatest passer in the world, but he can still find open teammates. The Knicks have been known to rain three’s thanks to sharpshooters like Jason Kidd, Steve Novak and J.R. Smith.

If Atlanta does decide to occasionally put two guys on Anthony, they need to seal the arc and make sure no one is open for three’s. Worse comes to worse, Martin or Rasheed Wallace will end up with a few dunks.

If the Hawks stick to Anthony like glue, they may be able to disrupt New York’s offense enough to give themselves a chance. Otherwise, they better pray to the basketball gods that Anthony has an off night.