Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
BOSTON — In the wake of losing Game 1 of their playoff series against the Boston Celtics, both Carmelo Anthony and Mike D’Antoni stand by the shot selection in the final seconds of the game.
With the Knicks trailing by two points after Ray Allen’s 3-pointer from the left wing, Anthony launched a 3-pointer of his own even though he was defended and a wide-open Toney Douglas was waving his arm from beyond the arc.
The ball caromed off the front rim and the Knicks came up short after leading by 12 points in the second half.
“The shot felt good,” Anthony said Monday. “When I released it, it felt good. It was a little short. I done made that shot before, so sometimes you make it, sometimes you don’t.”
The Knicks had no timeouts remaining but Anthony said he thought D’Antoni was going to call one before he launched the shot with about 4 seconds remaining.
“I thought we were going to call a timeout but I looked over and coach was saying, ‘Go, go, go,'” Anthony said. “I think he didn’t want the defense to get set.”
Told the team had no timeouts remaining, Anthony said: “So I didn’t know, to be honest with you. Maybe that’s my boneheaded mistake.”
D’Antoni said: “We didn’t have any timeouts, so I just told them, ‘Let’s go, guys.'”
Asked if he would’ve called a timeout there if he had one remaining, the coach joked, “I probably would, just to cover my ass with you guys.”
Still, D’Antoni said he stands by Anthony, who has won numerous games in his career with last-second shots.
“He’s the best finisher of games in the last 10 years, if I’m not mistaken, in the NBA,” D’Antoni said.
“He knew we needed a two. He knew that if he gets doubled, he could pass it and somebody else could be open. He knows that. He’ll have to make that play. I’m comfortable with him making that play.
“Would we both like to have it back? Yeah.”
In his first playoff game as a Knick, Anthony struggled through a 5-for-18, 15-point shooting performance and managed just three second-half points on 1-of-11 shooting.
“I couldn’t buy a bucket [Sunday] night,” he said. “Especially in the second half, shots was going in and out. Shots was short. But as far as that goes, I know I can make those shots.”
He committed two fouls within the first 88 seconds of the game, and then was called for a controversial offensive foul off the ball on Paul Pierce in the final minute.
“What I thought about it and what he called were two different things,” Anthony said of official Monty McCutchen. “It was going on the whole game, not just with me but just with other guys that’s posting up from physical play down there in the post.
“Especially with 20-some seconds left on the clock, I wasn’t expecting it.”
The Knicks were outscored 28-21 in the fourth quarter, and 48-34 in the second half.
D’Antoni said his team must overcome it’s fourth-quarter folds in order to win a playoff game.
“That’s the big thing,” he said. “That comes from trusting your teammates, relying on what we do and battling fatigue.
“We’re better, but we’re not quite there and we need to have a breakthrough in this series. If we do that, we got a good chance to win.”
**With Billups questionable, Douglas could start Game 2
**Knicks lose ‘Mr. Big Shot’ to knee injury
**Tough night for ‘Melo culminates in missed 3
(Photo courtesy Daily News)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.