Carmelo Anthony hit two ridiculous three-pointers to tie and win the game, but his teammates also deserve some credit for their clutch performances. Let’s take a look at a few crunch-time plays.
Prior to Carmelo’s first incredible three-pointer, Mike Woodson drew up a play that left Steve Novak wide open. Novak, Carmelo, and Tyson Chandler lined up at the foul line to give Iman Shumpert the space to catch the inbound pass. Carmelo then ran off the mass of bodies to catch it on the wing. In what was perhaps created by the threat of an Anthony three-pointer, both Luol Deng and Taj Gibson run out to cover Carmelo as he catches the ball.
After Carmelo catches it, Chandler is prepared to set a screen for Novak running to the other wing, but it isn’t necessary because Gibson has taken himself out of the play. Carmelo’s skip pass to Novak is made even easier because Derrick Rose is standing at the top of the key with his hands down. If Rose was more alert on this play, Carmelo might have had to put more air under the pass, giving Gibson an extra moment to recover. Novak’s open three somehow rims out after going more than halfway down, but Woodson drew up a nice play, nonetheless. The full play is below.
This play reminded me of a similar play New York ran to tie the game in Minnesota earlier in the year. Chandler sets a screen for Novak leading to a wide open three-pointer. Here’s that play:
In overtime, Tyson Chandler gave a spectacular individual effort to give the Knicks multiple looks at a game-winning basket. Without his presence on the offensive boards, Carmelo never gets a chance to make a second heroic three. Watch Chandler fight off Joakim Noah, Ronnie Brewer, and Luol Deng to give the Knicks two extra possessions.
On the final play of the game, the Knicks switched all screens involving Derrick Rose, which is a staple of a Mike Woodson defense. On the initial action, Iman Shumpert jumps in front of Rose and blows up the intended play. Rose eventually gets the ball back, and the Knicks switch again, putting Landry Fields on him. Chandler and Carmelo also lend a hand in defending the shot. The Bulls had two timeouts remaining, so it may have been wiser to call the timeout once Shumpert stopped the inbounds. Video of the play is below.
Carmelo Anthony will deservedly get much of the credit for the win, but without Tyson Chandler’s work on the boards and Iman Shumpert’s defensive anticipation, the result of the game could have been very different.