Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks drop another tough one, this time (for the second time) to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

New York Knicks 84 (4-6)
Cleveland Cavaliers 90 (8-1)
Full Game Box Score
Madison Square Garden

By Chip Murphy

The New York Knicks played admirably in the first half and took a seven point lead into the break. Just like when they met the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time on Nov. 4, things looked good until the fourth quarter.

Cleveland’s smothering defense held the Knicks to a miserable 12 fourth quarter points. After electrifying the home crowd with his 22 first half points, Carmelo Anthony disappeared under the pressure of close friend LeBron James.

Despite Anthony’s second half woes, the Knicks still had a shot to beat the best team in the Eastern Conference.

Which brings us to Derek Fisher.

Why were Lou Amundson and Jose Calderon playing crunch time minutes with Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez on the bench? Your guess is as good as mine.

Before tonight, Amundson had played a combined 19 minutes in two games for the entire season. That should speak for itself. Calderon’s horrid defense on Williams throughout the game should have kept him off the court. How many times must a man go under a screen before he realizes it is not the right decision?

The puzzling moves by coach Fisher down the stretch Fisher ended up bringing in Lopez and Afflalo with about a minute and a half remaining. By then the momentum was completely in the Cavs favor. The offense was completely out of sync and Anthony was trying to force a victory by himself.

It’s never going to be easy to beat LeBron, but for the second straight game the Knicks had him right where they wanted him and they couldn’t seal the deal. King James decided he was going to take over and the Knicks couldn’t deny him. It’s easy to heap the loss on Anthony’s shoulders for his poor second half play, but that doesn’t mean we should.

If you watched that second half you didn’t see a Carmelo Anthony who gave up. You saw a Carmelo Anthony that was frustrated that his shots weren’t falling. Anthony wanted to beat LeBron James more than he wanted to breathe.

This won’t be the last time they do battle this season. They still have two games left. Next up is Wednesday, Dec. 23, in Cleveland. I guarantee you Carmelo is looking forward to it.

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I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.