The New York Knicks beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-97 in a thriller on Tuesday night. The win extended the Knicks lead in the Atlantic Division to four games.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 45 points. He was incredibly efficient from the field, hitting 63 percent of his shots and going 5-7 from three-point range.
Anthony has been putting up big numbers all season. He’s second in the NBA in scoring with 27.7 points per game, and has seven games with at least 30 points.
Twenty-one games into his 10th career season, Anthony may be playing better than he ever has. Between his impressive statistics and the Knicks strong record, is Anthony the MVP of the league?
An argument can certainly be made that Anthony’s been the most valuable player through 25 percent of the 2012-2013 season. He’s the best player on the best team in the Eastern Conference, leading the Knicks to a 16-5 record.
LeBron James has won the MVP in three of the last four seasons, and it’s always hard to argue that someone else should win the award. Averaging 25.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists, no player fills out the stat sheet like James.
The Knicks performance this season, however, might give Anthony the edge over James. Anthony has helped New York achieve a better record than the Miami Heat. The defending champs were expected by many to run away with the top seed in the East. New York has also dominated Miami in both of their matchups this season, winning each game by 20 points.
Kobe Bryant would get some votes if the season ended today. He’s on his way to winning another scoring title, leading the league with 29.2 points per game. The veteran is also averaging twice as many assists as Anthony.
The Los Angeles Lakers 9-13 record, though, would make it tough for Bryant to be named the MVP over Anthony. Even though Bryant has shot a career-high 48.8 percent from the field, his scoring might be having an adverse affect on his team. L.A. is just 1-10 when Bryant reaches the 30-point mark, while New York is 5-2 when Anthony scores at least 30.
Kevin Durant might be the biggest threat to Anthony’s quest for his first ever MVP award. Right behind Anthony with 27 points per game, Durant averages more assists (4.3) and rebounds (8.5) per contest than the Knicks forward. Durant’s shooting percentage (50.6) is also higher than Anthony’s 46.5
The Knicks may have the best record in the East, but they would only be in fourth in the West. The Oklahoma City Thunder are second in the conference at 17-4, and haven’t lost a step after they traded James Harden .
Both players still have 61 games left on their teams’ schedules, leaving plenty of time to compete for the biggest individual award in the sport. The Knicks and Thunder have yet to square off in 2012, but will play each other in March and April.