Through Friday, Carmelo Anthony is second in the league in scoring with 28.2 ppg. Over the years, Anthony has established himself as one of the best closers in the game, but the first quarter is actually where he’s doing the most damage this season. Of his 28.2 ppg average, 8.7 have come in the first quarter. That figure leads the league, and is more than a point better than Lebron James (7.6).
How is he doing it? He’s committing to going to the basket early and often, and taking shots from the most efficient areas on the court.
A whopping 90 of his 327 (27.5%) first quarter field goals have come from within eight feet of the basket. Getting into the lane is also leading to free throws, of which Anthony averages 2.1 attempts per first quarter. Also of note, another 27.6% of Melo’s first quarter shots are above the break three-point attempts (89 of 323 attempts).
It’s no surprise then, that the first quarter is Anthony’s most efficient. He posts a true shooting percentage of 58.4% in the first, his best quarter.
Despite the narrow loss to Miami on Sunday, Anthony had 17 first quarter points, buoyed by eight made free throws. It will be important for Melo to continue to start hot during the Knicks upcoming road trip, as they push for playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference.