Opening Tip: Can Melo shoulder the load?

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
7:00
AM ET
Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Game 4 on Tuesday is a must win. Do you think Carmelo Anthony, like other great New York superstars, can carry his team to a win?


The Knicks' season won't end if they lose Game 4 on Tuesday.

But it'll feel like it's over.

Just eight teams in NBA history have rebounded from a 3-1 hole.

So Game 4 is as "must win" as it gets for the Knicks.

If they manage to walk off the Bankers Life Fieldhouse floor with a win, it will probably be thanks to a team effort.

Maybe the Knicks move the ball better, maybe they box Indiana out a little harder, maybe they knock down a few open shots.

But they'll also probably need a bigger game from Carmelo Anthony than they got in Game 3.

So it's fair to wonder: Can Melo do what it takes on Tuesday to lead the Knicks to a win?

Let's not forget: Anthony came to New York, in part, to soak up all of the ancillary benefits of being a star athlete in the Big Apple. You know what they are: the commercials, the marketing opportunities, enough cultural cache to start your own magazine.

But along with that comes an added responsibility: You have to win. Just ask Derek Jeter, Mark Messier, Eli Manning and any other athlete who has won at the highest level in New York.

Get the job done in a key game, and you'll be loved forever. But come up small in a big moment, and you may never live it down.

This isn't to say that Anthony has failed in any big moments in a Knick uniform; he hasn't had the chance to do so.

Surely, Anthony deserves credit for lifting New York this season to its first division title in nearly 20 years and its first playoff series win since 2000.

But the Knicks' -- and Anthony's -- year will be viewed as a failure in most circles if New York fails to make it to the Eastern Conference finals.

To do so, they almost have to win Tuesday.

Of course, it's silly to say that Anthony, and Anthony alone, needs to carry the Knicks to a victory.

New York needs a better effort almost everyone on the roster.

But logic states that Anthony has to lead the way.

He certainly needs to take more shots in crunch time than the three he got off in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

He also needs to find a way to score on Paul George.

George held Anthony to 4-for-11 shooting in Game 3. Anthony has hit just 34 percent of his attempts when defended by George, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

To counter that, Mike Woodson suggested he may run some pick and rolls when Anthony has the ball in his hands and is guarded by George.

"I’m not OK with him taking three shots (in the fourth quarter)," Woodson said Sunday. "He’s got to take more shots."

Anthony took just 16 shots in Game 3 but you can bet that he'll get more attempts on Tuesday. If he makes enough, the Knicks have a good shot at coming back to New York with the series tied, 2-2.

If not, Carmelo and the Knicks will be one loss from a long summer vacation.
Question: Game 4 on Tuesday is a must win. Do you think Carmelo Anthony, like other great New York superstars, can carry his team to a win?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR