Originally written on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Without Amar'e Stoudemire this season, Carmelo Anthony has carried the Knicks on his back to their strongest start in years.Anthony has gotten help from a cast of characters that included defensive anchor Tyson Chandler and playmaking extraordinaire Jason Kidd---both of whom are major contributions, but neither stand tall as a dominating force on offense.The Brooklyn native has looked to Raymond Felton as number two in command throughout the year, but even Felton still lacks that clutch gene and the ice in his veins. When Anthony is sidelined, who else can the Knicks turn to in order to help carry them to victory?Against the Suns on Wednesday tonight, New York was forced to find out. With Anthony and Felton both down for the count, it was a certainty the team needed unlikely sources to step up if they stood a chance to win.Kidd served as one of those unlikely sources of offensive production, as the floor general played big minutes and scored a season-high 23 points. With Felton expected to be out for a prolonged period of time, he's likely to have that burden again and again as time goes on.Chris Copeland poured in 14 points of his own off the bench. After watching players like Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak rise from obscurity last season, the 28 year old is quickly becoming a surprise in a similar sense. A bold and fearless shot-taker, Copeland's quick release is making it difficult for defenders to react in time to stop him. And he's becoming a fan-favorite because of it.The importance and contributions of the likes of Chandler, Kidd, and Copeland has been mentioned, but who, in Anthony's absence, serves as Mr. Clutch?In order to win without the star forward, we've said repeatedly here at KnicksJournal.com that the Knicks simply need to do one thing: Make J.R. Smith their Melo.Smith has always been bold, and has always been the type of guy who wants the ball in his hands at the end of games. But in the past, his immaturity, coupled with an inconsistent jumper that would make everyone else in view cringe, such a role wasn't yet in the cards.But with a new coach's confidence (Mike Woodson) and guidance helped Smith zone in, act more more mature, and accept more responsibility. With these off-the-court things taken care of, Smith has risen up as a totally different player.And make no mistake, it's been for the better. Smith's heroics on Wednesday night, not only to hit a shot with a defender draped all over him to tie the game, but also another dagger to sink the Suns, only prove it.The guard poured in a 27 point performance overall to lead the Knickerbockers to a 99-97 win. The team will travel to Sacramento, to face the Kings on Friday night.

Pacquiao knocks down Algieri six times in easy win

John Calipari gets daughter's birthday wrong

Carson: Hall of Fame career not worth concussion problems

Tiger hires new swing coach

Is Sting making his WWE debut at Survivor Series?

Eric Decker: It's tough watching Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos


Semaje Perine breaks Melvin Gordon's rushing record

Report: Chip Kelly, Eagles GM not seeing eye-to-eye

Pete Carroll open to playing Richard Sherman at WR

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled for so long'

Red Sox have best offer on table for Pablo Sandoval?

LeBron: Kevin Love will get the ball 'if he demands it'

WATCH: Young reporter asks Helfrich funny question

Sager makes first appearance since leukemia diagnosis

Harvard kicker wears glasses

WATCH: Tennessee fans go a little overboard celebrating TD

Dwight Howard out indefinitely after having PRP on knee

Report: Mike Gundy pursuing Florida job

WATCH: Jameis Winston gets away with shoving an official

WATCH: Georgia's Chris Conley makes diving TD catch

WATCH: Nebraska blocks field goal, returns it for TD

Florida DL shows support for Will Muschamp with eye black

WATCH: Javale McGee kisses elderly fan sitting courtside

WATCH: Tim Tebow busts out a brief Steve Spurrier impression

Knicks News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Cal gets daughter's bday wrong

Carson: Career not worth concussions

Report: Gundy pursuing Florida job

Tiger hires new swing coach

WATCH: Jameis Winston shoves ref

Florida DL supports Will Muschamp with eye black

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled'

LeBron: Love needs to 'demand' the ball

Bills-Jets game will be free admission

Pete Carroll: Lynch is 'our guy'

Which NFL team will get the #1 pick?

Game of the week: Patriots vs. Lions

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.