Jan 2, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) is defended by San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (right) during the second half at AT&T Center. The Knicks won 105-101. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
1. Carmelo Anthony vs. Kawhi Leonard
After struggling to do much of anything during the first two games, Carmelo Anthony went off against the Washington Wizards. He scored 37 points on 11-of-18 shooting, sinking a number of clutch shots en route to a 117-110 road victory.
Up next on the agenda is a matchup with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard’s on-ball defense is, by and large, the most feared in the NBA. He’s an all-time defender, boasting a rare combination of strength, length, hand size, footwork and anticipation.
According to NBA.com, opponents are shooting just 6-of-30 from the field when Leonard is the primary defender in 2015-16.
Anthony may be an outstanding scorer, but one of Leonard’s early lockdown victims was Kevin Durant. As has been proven countless times before, the caliber of the scorer is irrelevant to the San Antonio Spurs star’s success.
Anthony needs to pace the Knicks to victory, but that will be no easy task.