I've always felt based on studying the Knicks as closely as I have over the years that there's an inner conflict that has been building within the fanbase surrounding Carmelo Anthony.
Some fans want to see the Knicks win with him, and it seems some don't.
I won't go as far as to say people root for the Knicks and against Anthony because that thought process makes zero sense to me. Maybe that's just some people's way of stirring the pot on social media, but ever since Anthony has been here it's been a roller coaster ride for fans who believed Carmelo was supposed to be the savior taking the Knicks to the promised land after coming here from Denver.
Wednesday night's game had a wild fourth quarter in Minnesota resulting in yet another Anthony game winner with less than five seconds to go in the game.
The immediate reaction by non-Anthony fans was that the game should not have been that close.
After Mindaugas Kuzminskas' three-pointer with 7:41 to play gave the Knicks their largest lead at 99-82, the Timberwolves (5-13) mounted a furious comeback behind the incredible Karl Towns, who was dominant all night. Towns scored eight of his career-high 47 points in the final five minutes, culminating with the game-tying free throws with 24 seconds left.
Minnesota's comeback set the stage for Anthony, who struggled again from the field (14 points, 5-for-16) to close yet another game like he did last week at home against the Hornets and like he's done 15 times now in his career.
The first question fans have in these situations is why does Anthony always get the ball? First and foremost, you know he's going to get a shot off and it's going to be a good look, which is not an easy task in the half court of games late. He has an uncanny ability to attack defenders' left feet with a jab step, which is why right-handed defenders like Andrew Wiggins struggle to guard him in these situations. The Wolves would have been better off having Shabazz Muhammed guarding him in that situation.
In addition to hitting the eventual game-winner, Anthony, much maligned for his defense since becoming a Knick, deflected the in-bounds pass from Zach Lavine, who was trying to throw the ball to Towns in the pinch post. It ws the icing on the cake on a win that pulled the Knicks back again to the .500 mark and sealed their eighth win in the month of November, which is their highest win total in a month since they won 11 in 2012-13. They started the season 11-4 and went on to win 54 games -- the most in a season since Anthony's been here.
The 2016-17 Knicks are still very much a work in progress and what you've seen through the first 18 games is their ability to win games against good teams. Say what you want about the Wolves' record, but they had the most dominant player on their home floor have a career night and the Knicks were still able to go on the road and pull out the win.
Getting shots off in the situation is not an easy task. Making them is even harder. What people also have to accept is that Carmelo Anthony is one of the game's all-time great regular season closers having done what he did last night time and time again.