Carmelo Anthony was brilliant yet again for the New York Knickerbockers, but once again, was not good enough to lead his team to victory.
Anthony scored 44 points, including a clutch game tying three pointer with 48 seconds, but couldn't prevent Dirk Nowitski from hitting the game winning shot as time expired in a 110-108 loss to the Mavericks.
The loss drops the team to a season worse 15 games under .500 at 21-36, and are now six games behind the Bobcats and Hawks for the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. They have lost three in a row and nine of their last 11 as the playoffs are starting to look more and more like a dream for New York.
Anthony also recorded nine rebounds and four assists. He knocked down a season high of seven 3-pointers. It was the fourth straight game that Anthony has scored 40+ points, but the team has managed to win only one of those games. He has scored 35 or more points in five of his last six games, and is averaging 41.3 points in his last four games.
But much like the losses of the team's recent four game roadtrip, this one maybe the most deflating of them all. They didn't have a big fourth quarter lead to blow like the previous three losses. However, the team's incredible comeback was all for nothing because of the team's awful final possession.
"This is a tough one, " said Anthony.
The Knicks fought back from a eight-point deficit with 1:44 to go thanks to a Raymond Felton layup, a three-point play from Tyson Chandler and then the three-pointer from Anthony. They had a chance to take the lead with less than 10 seconds to play, but their final possession was a disaster, resulting in a 24-second violation.
Anthony played as good a defense as you can on Nowitzki, but the future Hall of Famer from the Mavericks has one of the softest touches in NBA history which resulted in the friendly bounce to once again break the heart of Anthony and the Knickerbockers.
"I was just hoping that he missed it," said Anthony. " After the first bounce I said, 'We're going to overtime' and then I saw it go back in and it was all over. He hit a tough shot. You can't take that away from him."
Coach Mike Woodson feels that it's not right that his team is is where it's at in the standing with the way his best player has played this season.
"The way he’s played, it’s a damn shame that we’re in the position we’re in, because our team doesn’t deserve it and he definitely does not deserve the position that we’re in," Woodson said.
Anthony has had one of his finest seasons of his career from an individual standpoint. It has become all for naught for his team as this may certainly go down as his worst season from a team standpoint. With each heartbreaking loss, Anthony is starting to wonder if all the work he has put in during the game is worth it.
"It's tough. You score 40, 44, 44, and all losses," said Anthony. "You kind of ask yourself is it worth it? I'm not going to stop doing what I am doing."
Following his post game press conference, a reporter asked him what he meant by what he just said.
"You losing," he said. "Scoring all that, and taking L's."
Carmelo stood for several moments in stunned disbelief after the final shot went through the net.
"It is like a needle popping a balloon..it sucks all the air out of you. There's really nothing that I can say at that moment."
The Knicks have 25 games left in the season, and the balloon seems all but ready to pop on New York's incredibly disappointing season for Anthony and New York. With each heartbreaking loss, you just have to wonder if Anthony has just had about enough of playing at the World's Most Famous Arena.