Melo misses opportunity and (lots of) shots

BOSTON -- Carmelo Anthony's dream didn't come to fruition on Sunday. Not even close.

In fact, Game 4 turned into a bit of a nightmare for the Knicks' star.

Anthony missed 25 of his 35 attempts on Sunday, including several in crunch time, and the Knicks lost in overtime to Boston, 97-90.

Leading up to Sunday's game, Anthony said it would be a "dream come true" to complete a first-round sweep of the Celtics on Sunday. Now the Knicks have to win a home game on Wednesday to finish off their longtime rivals.

"We have to be confident going back home. We were confident here," Anthony said after scoring 36 points. "We felt like we gave ourselves a shot to win the basketball game."

Early in Sunday's game, it looked like the Knicks would have no such shot.

New York hit just 29 percent of its attempts in the first half and trailed by 19 at the break. Anthony went 3-for-15 and turned it over five times. But he didn't have much help. The Knicks clearly missed J.R. Smith's scoring in the first half. All Knicks not named Anthony shot a combined 8-for-23.

It seemed like Anthony at times was trying to compensate for the absence of Smith, who was suspended for his Game 3 elbow to Jason Terry's chin.

"I missed him out there," Anthony said. "But J.R. being out there doesn't change the way I shoot the basketball. I just normally hit those shots. I’ve been taking them the whole series, they weren't falling tonight."

Shots started to fall in the third quarter. Not for Anthony, though. For Raymond Felton.

Felton poured in 16 points in the third as the Knicks cut a 20-point deficit to just three entering the fourth quarter. Anthony seemed to get on track, hitting three of six shots to supplement Felton.

But he lost touch in the fourth quarter and overtime, misfiring on 10 of his last 14 shots.

"He missed some shots," Woodson said of Anthony, who entered play Sunday averaging an NBA playoff-high 32 points per game. "As a team [though], we couldn't make shots."

Woodson was diplomatic in deflecting the blame from Anthony. But it was hard to ignore the way Melo struggled in crunch time.

All seven of his misses in the fourth quarter came with the Knicks trailing Boston by five points or fewer. Anthony missed three straight shots with the score tied at 82. He also went 2-for-5 from the free-throw line in the fourth, including two misses with 1:50 to play that could have snapped the 82-all tie.

"I was trying to do whatever I can to win the basketball game. I was just trying to be aggressive, but I missed a ton of shots," Anthony said.

Credit goes to Brandon Bass, who bothered Anthony all afternoon. But you also have to wonder if the Knicks forced Anthony into too many isolation sets, or vice versa.

New York had great success with Felton running the pick-and-roll in the third but seemed to lean on isolation plays in the fourth quarter and overtime.

For the game, Anthony operated in isolation on 49 percent of his possessions, according to data compiled by ESPN Stats and Information. It's worth noting that the Knicks were outscored by 10 points with Anthony on the floor.

Compared to Game 2, when Anthony was in isolation on 26 percent of his plays and the Knicks were plus-22 when he was on the floor, Sunday's ratio seems counterproductive.

Especially when you consider that Anthony's isolation sets late in the game seemed to come at Felton's expense. Coming off of a brilliant third quarter, Felton attempted just six shots combined in the fourth quarter and overtime. He had 16 points on eight shots in the third.

"At the end of the day you're going to live and die with your go-to guy," Felton said. I was able to get in the paint and hit some big shots, but when the game is on the line you're going to be getting the ball to No. 7. That's what we've been doing all year. There's no need to change it now."

The Knicks went to No. 7 again and again in overtime, but to little avail. Anthony missed three of his four attempts in the extra session, including a 3-pointer with the Knicks down three and 20 seconds to play.

"We as a team didn't shoot the ball well. I didn't shoot the ball well. But we look forward to Wednesday. I can tell you that," he said.

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