Knicks fans should recognize a real superstar: Indiana’s Paul George

New York sports fans are very protectively delusional with players they consider stars or superstars. Just look at Mark Sanchez. Or 2013 Derek Jeter. The same thing seems to be happening with Carmelo Anthony, who New Yorkers remarkably revere as a megastar. In reality, Anthony is only average defensively and, so far this season, inefficient offensively. As we’ve seen throughout this season, Melo is certainly no Paul George.

Just consider this sequence over the last five minutes and nine seconds of Wednesday night’s nationally televised Knicks-Pacers game at Madison Square Garden:

PaulGeorgeSH1With just over nine seconds left and Indiana trailing 89-86 in a sluggish contest, George had the ball in his hands. He took a few dribbles and thought that Iman Shumpert, who was doing a nice job defensively on George for most of the game, would foul him early on. The Pacers had been shooting just 69 percent from the free throw line at that point, so fouling before a shot could be put up made sense.

“So I was trying to make a quick play before he could do that,” George said. The plan worked and Shumpert was called for a controversial foul with 5.2 seconds to go. George calmly buried the three free throws “even after being iced with a time out,” as Indiana head coach Frank Vogel pointed out.

After the Knicks called time out to draw up their final sequence, everyone knew who was getting the ball for New York. And it was George who drew the defensive assignment, playing great on-the-ball defense against Anthony in the final sequence. Anthony’s missed shot forced overtime at 89 all.

“To carry the offensive load the way he did and guard Carmelo Anthony basically for 48 minutes, I don’t know where he finds the energy but it’s special,” Vogel said after the game.

In overtime, the Knicks’ big time superstar faded away and wilted under the Garden’s bright lights. But George? George took over the game, leaving Anthony in the dust to wallow in the Knicks’ 3-8 start.


  1. Danny says

    This article is premature to what is a rough draft that is the New York Knicks.
    How could you possibly compare two players without first factoring in the play
    of their respective teammates? Indiana utilizes a high screen-roll with George
    and either Hibbert or West. The two aforementioned big men are known to be
    excellent screen men along with a capable touch from the post. Both of those
    dimensions are ultimately ignored in the argument of this article. The
    attention those two draw allows for clearer looks and better opportunities for
    the rest of the Pacer team. That’s not to diminish the value of George, just a
    mere token of appreciation of competent and efficient team play. The Knicks team
    that played last night has been deflated by injuries to starters Raymond Felton
    and Tyson Chandler. Without the threat of rolling big Chandler and penetrating
    Felton, a vulnerable Knick team is left in shambles on both ends of the ball.
    Also, take a closer look at Anthony’s match-up defensively for most of the game.
    David West, who excels in the post and is known to crash the boards offensively,
    finished an “inefficient” 4-13 from the field with 10 rebounds. Anthony, playing the power
    forward without a traditional rim-protecting big, held his ground and totaled 18
    rebounds. Part of defense is rebounding defensively, and Anthony’s effort echos
    that message.
    In the end, a full-strength Indiana team came out flat against an
    injury-depleted Knick team. Mental error defensively along with a referee who
    enjoys interjecting himself into key moments ruined what would have been a
    stellar, momentum-igniting win for a spiraling Knick team.

    Side note: a better article topic would have been analyzing the Knick’s drastic
    change in ball movement-oriented offense to ISO-ball down the stretch and their
    infatuation for switching on pick and rolls.

  2. beermelons says

    It’s funny how you cherry-pick the events of last night’s game. Anthony, covered by George scored 30pts. He out-rebounded not just George, he out-rebounded West. He out-rebounded Hibbard. George threw a total brick at the end of the game with a chance to tie it, and the ref bailed him out with a phantom call. I have no doubt George is a great player. So is Melo.

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