Knicks F Carmelo Anthony struggled during Thursday night's 119-104 loss to the Cavaliers.
Anthony, who remained with the club after an uneventful trade deadline, was just 9 of 25 from the field.
He struggled from downtown, hitting just 2 of 8 attempts, and turned the ball over five times.
Anthony had been hot entering the All-Star break, having scored 33, 25, and 30 points respectively in the Knicks' last three games.
Even though Anthony participated in this past weekend's All-Star Game, he still had an opportunity to have some time off during the midseason break. Unfortunately, he looked to be running on tired legs during the Knicks' first game of the second half.
The star forward's jumper looked flat as Cleveland covered Anthony quite well. And he wasn't bouncy enough to free himself up from the defense. Following a decent first quarter, he looked to be forcing up too many shots.
One would think that getting a stay of execution with the trade deadline now passed will be a relief for Anthony. He knows where he'll be, at least for a few more months. While such speculation may no longer be at the forefront of things, perhaps Anthony may still be stressed that the possibility of being dealt will be hanging over his head until the offseason. He needs more than just a few months of clarity.
The Cavaliers are a tough matchup, and getting defended by LeBron James is no easy feat to overcome. Even so, Anthony looked as though the drama surrounding his potential next destination was getting to him. Following a relatively loose first quarter, he looked challenged. The fact that he had to defend a very active James on the defensive end probably didn't help his ability to produce on offense. Exhaustion appeared to set in.
Nevertheless, the Knicks need to be clear with Anthony about the direction of this franchise. Wasting his talent and allowing him to aimlessly play his heart out with no direction is not the way to go. He played 40 minutes against the Cavaliers. If the Knicks are coming to terms with what they have to do next (go younger, plan ahead), that should be the last time he plays as many minutes this season.