Despite a brutal shooting performance from New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday night, Jeff Hornacek trusted his star in the clutch.
Carmelo Anthony was the hero on Wednesday night. He made his second game-winner in four games as the New York Knicks beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 106-104. Here’s the kicker, if Anthony doesn’t make that shot he takes the blame for another Knicks loss.
Melo = the most clutch
He's hit the most go-ahead shots (15) in the final 5 sec of anyone since entering the league https://t.co/gKY4czKifv
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 1, 2016
The talking heads are laying into him this morning for his brutal shooting performance (he was just 4-15 before that final shot) and crushing Jeff Hornacek for not letting the red hot Kristaps Porzingis (29 points) take the shot.
Melo could’ve been 0-14, and he still would’ve had the ball in his hands as the clock ran down. And rightfully so. He’s one of the best clutch players of his generation.
Per Marc Berman of The New York Post, Coach Hornacek talked about the reasoning behind going with the 11-time All-Star with the game on the line.
“He’s done it for years,’’ Hornacek said. “We felt we got the ball to Melo, he’d get us a good shot. This may happen a lot with Melo making that big shot for us. I was in Utah once and John Stockton hit seven, eight of them in one year. Some years you nail every one of them. Hopefully that will be the case this year.’’
It may seem like an obvious decision to some, but the fact that the head coach is making it appear that way matters. It mattered to Melo that Hornacek believes he’s still the closer.
Anthony noted his teammates and head coach’s confidence in him when asked about how to forget the rest of Wednesday night’s performance for that final shot.
“Stay with it,’’ Anthony said of his ability to shake things off. “Believe in yourself. It’s something I will never stop doing. My teammates believed in me. Coach believed in me to draw that play up. Either we was going to win or going overtime.”
Melo is in the middle of a 16-60 shooting slump in his last three games. The Knicks are hoping that Wednesday night’s heroics will snap him out of it.