Anthony is doing his level best to carry New York to victory on a nightly basis. But basketball is a team sport, and every time he takes the court he is carrying four giant sacks of dead weight on his back.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Knicks' star is beginning to feel like he is all alone out there. He made his feelings plain to reporters after the game, per The Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring:
Melo, on how often he feels like he has to do things on his own: "A lot. A lot."— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) February 28, 2014
For what it's worth, teammate J.R. Smith sympathizes with Melo's condition. After all, Smith has to put up with all the losing as well. Per the New York Daily News' Frank Isola:
J.R. Smith on Carmelo's frustration: “I think it’s pretty much numbing to him now. The way things are going, that’s not good for anybody.”— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 28, 2014
Of course, Melo shouldn't expect much in the way of sympathy from his longtime friend and opponent, LeBron James. Per The Palm Beach Post's Jason Lieser:
LeBron on Carmelo's frustration: "I'm on the fence about it. He's a close friend, but I want the whole league to lose. I only root for us."— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) February 28, 2014
By the end of the third quarter on Thursday, when Miami had already blown the game wide open, it was clear to all watching that the Heat were playing a one-man team. Anthony scored 29 points on 11-for-19 shooting in the first 36 minutes, while the rest of team was 14-for-47 shooting for 35 points.
Quite simply, New York has no other player capable of carrying the scoring burden for a winning team at the moment.
The Knicks have played 58 games this season. In 34 of those games, Melo was the leading scorer for either team. Only twice this season has a Knick other than Melo been the game's leading scorer: Amar'e Stoudemire on Jan. 11 against the Philadelphia 76ers and Tim Hardaway Jr. on Feb. 18 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
If Melo isn't putting up huge numbers, they Knicks aren't going to win. Heck, they usually don't win even when he does put up monster numbers. Per ESPN Stats:
Carmelo Anthony has 5 40-point games that have come in losses -- most in the NBA over the past 2 seasons.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 25, 2014
Anthony will be the hottest commodity on the free-agent market during the 2014 offseason. If he cares about winning more than money, he can take a pay cut and choose from any one of several contenders who would like to have him.
He could even wind up in Miami.