Carmelo Anthony: Why the Knicks Star is the Most Clutch Player in the NBA

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By Anthony Riccobono | April 10, 2012 4:35 AM EST

For much of his time with the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony has been criticized for the way he's played since joining New York.

Fans and media members alike have called him "selfish," and chastised him for wanting to take too many shots.

When Anthony came back from an injury at the height of "Linsanity," he did numerous interviews to suppress the notion that he wouldn't be able to share the ball with the Knicks newest star. There have even been multiple articles written comparing the forward to former Knicks disappointment Stephon Marbury.

Sunday afternoon, Anthony reminded NBA fans why New York traded for the All-Star in the first place. He hit the game-tying shot in regulation, as well as a game-winning three pointer in overtime to help the Knicks beat the Bulls, who have the best record in the NBA.

After the Knicks blew a lead they held for most of the game, it was Anthony who made shots down the stretch to give New York the victory. Anthony scored a season-high 43 points, but the shots at the end of the game were the most impressive part of his performance.

Throughout his career, Anthony has proven to be the most clutch player in the league, and last night only helped the forward hold onto that claim.

Many people will tell you that Kobe Bryant is the most clutch player in the league, but that is a fallacy. Kobe Bryant has made more shots at the end of games than any active player. That can't be disputed.

But Bryant only makes so many shots at the end of games because he shoots so many. That also can't be disputed. In fact, Bryant makes only a small percentage of his shots with the game on the line.

Last year, Alok Pattani of ESPN compiled stats to figure out who is the most clutch player in the league. He described a clutch situation as one in which a player's team was tied, or trailed by one or two points, with a maximum of 24 seconds left.

The results showed that Bryant only made 31.3 percent of his shots in the clutch. That was 25th among players who took at least 30 such shots, starting with the 1996-97 NBA Season.

Carmelo Anthony had the best percentage at 47.7 percent.

There are certainly other players in the conversation with Anthony.

Kevin Durant may be the best scorer in the league. He led the NBA in points per game over the past two seasons. Durant has been very good in clutch situations this season, but hasn't proven it for nearly as long as Anthony.

LeBron James is probably the best player in the league, but is known for disappearing at the end of games. Many people would put Dwyane Wade in the conversation, but Anthony's percentage is higher than his in the clutch as well.

Unlike Wade and James, Anthony is the only superstar on his team. Opponents know he's going to take the final shot, and he still makes it half of the time.

Anthony underperformed for much of the season. He shot just 40 percent from the field for most of the year, and was fairly criticized for his performance.

But Sunday's performance proves that Anthony is still the best with the game on the line.

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