No, I'm not talking about on the basketball court, although that also appears to be the case nowadays. I'm talking about in the court of public opinion, where the Knicks' superstar is being crucified for his role in his team's two losses in Boston this week.
It's a stars' league, perhaps now more than ever. The stars are the ones getting all the hype and making all the big bucks — and in playoff games, they're often the ones making all the crucial crunch-time decisions. That's been the case with Melo this week.
In Game 1 against the Celtics on Sunday night, he took a contested 25-foot jump shot in the final seconds with the Knicks down two. He missed.
In Game 2, he had a similar look but passed it up, making an entry pass to Jared Jeffries. Jeffries never even got a shot off, as Kevin Garnett took the ball away.
Both times, Anthony faced criticism for his in-game decision-making. Maybe if their best player were a little smarter, the pundits say, the Knicks would be heading home up 2-0.
It's not just the X's and O's of it. Carmelo hears scrutiny for his leadership abilities, too. Why can't he lift this cast of misfits and fringe D-Leaguers to a shocking playoff upset?
He hears it about his attitude. Melo made the mistake of calling Game 2 "fun" even though his two best teammates were out and the Knicks choked. His critics jumped on that.
He shot 1-of-11 in the second half of Game 1, falling apart when his team needed him. It was his fault then. He went off for a 42-17-6 performance in Game 2, carrying the Knicks when Amare Stoudemire went down. It was his fault, too, then.
So what's he supposed to do?
There's not much he can do besides keep playing. This is New York, where they turn on everyone — even the Brooklyn-born, Syracuse-educated native son they sought after for months. The criticism will just keep coming, and he's got to play through it.
This criticism is nothing new. It happens to big stars on bad teams all the time — because no one cares about the shortcomings of Bill Walker, Toney Douglas and Shawne Williams. Blame the star. It'll grab headlines.
The same thing happened to LeBron James in 2007. He passed up a game-winning shot in Game 1 against the Pistons, dishing to Donyell Marshall for a much-scrutinized miss. Then four games later, he destroyed those same Pistons with 25 consecutive points in the fourth quarter.
The star gets the praise after a win, but he also gets the blame after a loss — whether he deserves it or not.
Carmelo needs a win badly on Friday night — not only for the Knicks' sake, but to restore his own sanity.
What do you think of Carmelo Anthony's performance against the Celtics? Share your thoughts below.