Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.
THE BIG ONE: CAN I PLAY ON YOUR TEAM?After Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets finished their date with the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, it felt like, maybe, the tables have finally turned for the home team. The Knicks narrowly prevailed in a shootout, 129-125, but they won the war of the words after the game by a landslide, when it became known that Anthony has his heart set on joining MVP candidate Amar'e Stoudemire in making New York his next basketball home. For the Knicks, it must feel like a quick reversal: so much winning so soon -- they have taken nine of their last 10 games -- and a new role as hot spot rather than also-ran suitor of top talent. The 16-9 start for New York, which has them just four games behind conference-leading Boston, may have Knicks fans reevaluating their "get stars at any cost" strategy. A bird in hand (especially one that wins and plays exciting basketball) can be worth more than 'Melo and CP3 in a bush next year, with a potential lockout making it difficult for teams like the Knicks to bank on anything in the long-term future. Now that it is clear that Anthony wants New York, it is negotiation time. How much of their current roster and future assets will the Knicks feel comfortable parting with? Names like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Galinari and Landry Fields are often tossed around, and while each presents reasons for Knicks fans to want to keep them around, this is a great example of how outside eyes are able to more clearly evaluate players' worth. The Knicks should feel no hesitation in trading any of those players for Anthony, and that includes Fields, the steal of the 2010 draft and one of the best values in the NBA. Hot streaks have the tendency of making the players involved look better than they are over the long haul, and 82 games of Stoudemire and Anthony makes New York a more fearsome, dynamic team, not to mention a force in the playoffs, as both players can parade to the free throw line. Falling in love with role players (Landry Fields is untouchable!) and counting eggs before they hatch (we'll just sign Carmelo this summer!) are two of the easiest ways to lose sight of the big picture when it comes to roster building. Do what it takes to secure Anthony now, and then get to work on filling in the smaller holes that a trade for him would create.
GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:Raymond Felton: 19 points, 17 assists, three rebounds on 7-15 shooting in 45 minutes in a New York Knicks home win over the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony: 31 points, 13 rebounds, three assists on 11-27 shooting in 37 minutes in a Denver Nuggets road loss to the New York Knicks. Devin Harris: 16 points, eight rebounds, 10 assists in 37 minutes in a New Jersey Nets home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Blake Griffin: 27 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block in 42 minutes in a Los Angeles Clippers home loss to the Orlando Magic.
- Ken Berger has the latest on Carmelo Anthony from his weekend in New York City.
- Matt Moore writes that Anthony is playing some of the same cards that LeBron James did.
- Carmelo did state, directly, that he wants a contract extension this year.
- Royce Young takes a look at a frustrated Brandon Roy.