Unlike last season, when Carmelo Anthony graciously conceded the Most Valuable Player award to LeBron James long before the race was over, the Knicks’ All-Star forward isn’t about to surrender anything to his good friend.
That includes the best record in the Eastern Conference and, yes, the title of MVP.
When asked on Tuesday if James has locked up the MVP award, Anthony said: “It’s early. It’s All-Star break right now. He’s definitely playing like a Most Valuable Player so we’ll see what happens.”
The Knicks are 32-17 entering Wednesday’s home game against the Toronto Raptors, their final game before the All-Star break. Despite injuries to several key players and coach Mike Woodson constantly having to juggle the lineup, the Knicks have managed to stay within striking distance of Miami for the best record in the conference, which would mean home-court advantage in at least three playoff rounds.
James has emerged as the odds-on favorite to repeat as MVP and has recently begun to distance himself from the competition. In Sunday’s win over the Lakers, James joined Adrian Dantley and Moses Malone as the only players in NBA history to score 30 points and shoot at least 60% from the field in five straight games. James extended that streak to six games Tuesday, scoring 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting in a win over Portland.
“That’s crazy,” Anthony said following Tuesday’s two-hour practice at Greenburgh. “What he’s doing right now is unbelievable. He’s scoring 30, 40 points on 11 shots, 10-for-12, he’s on an incredible run right now. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
James has improved his offensive game this season while remaining one of the NBA’s top defenders. Anthony is arguably the league’s most accomplished scorer — he is tied with Kevin Durant for the scoring lead at 29.0 points per game.
Anthony’s best chance of catching James is for the Knicks catch the Heat (35-14) in the East (they trail by three games). It won’t be easy since the Knicks play 18 of their last 33 on the road.
For Anthony to capture his first MVP it will take a lot of work for a player who hasn’t had much of a break since training with the Olympic team began in July. Anthony is averaging 38.1 minutes and is being asked to do increasingly more in an offense that runs through him.


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