Carmelo Anthony: 42.3 FG%, 27.7% 3P% 26.3 PPG, 2.5 APG, 9.9 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 2.7 TPG, 40.4 MPG
Joe Johnson: 43.8 FG%, 42.9 3P% 16.0 PPG, 2.7 APG, 3.0 RPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 1.0 TPG, 33.3 MPG
This is perhaps the oddest matchup of all: Joe Johnson, who normally plays at shooting guard, will go up against Carmelo Anthony, who in recent years has played most effectively at power forward. But New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson’s steadfastness in keeping two big men on the floor with Anthony whenever possible and Brooklyn’s injury woes have set these two against each other, each their team’s most prolific wing scorer.
Anthony’s game has been ruthlessly dissected and analyzed over the past three seasons as the face of New York basketball. He represents one of the biggest gulfs between the “eye” test and the “numbers” test; Anthony’s offensive scoring touch is nearly unrivaled in the NBA, and he can score from just about anywhere on the floor. But the numbers don’t lie: through 16 games, Anthony is shooting a career-worst 42.3 percent from the field and under 28 percent from three-point range. The once-bulletproof forward even drew the ire of teammate Iman Shumpert, who lit into Anthony on the bench following a missed defensive assignment:
Johnson hasn’t looked much better — or elevated his team much higher — but Joe Cool has been nothing if not consistent, scoring in double digits in all but two games this season and shooting 43 percent from three-point range. He’s also not considered a lock-down defender, but has a better reputation on that end than Anthony. He’s also got the league’s best crunch-time resume, including a game-winning shot against these very same Knicks last season, one of four that he talked me through in training camp:
Anthony is a more versatile scorer, a far superior rebounder, and does an incredible job limiting turnovers despite having the ball in his hands for far longer than Johnson. It’s closer than you might think, but Anthony’s all-world offensive game both on and off the ball gives him the edge.
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Full Matchup Breakdown: