The Match up:
Anthony is one of the best in the NBA at getting to the hoop and finishing (90th percentile.) NOT including post up plays, Anthony averages about 12 possessions per game finishing at the basket. Despite Anthony's propensity for hitting difficult shots and his fundamentally sound form, Anthony is extremely poor overall as a shooter, (20th percentile.) However, Anthony takes nearly 9 shots per game from the field separate from his shots off of drives, face-up, turn-around, set-shots, and shots off screens. He's actually a better shooter statistically when guarded than when unguarded, jumping up 10 percentile points when challenged, which may bolster his reputation as a clutch-shooter.
Anthony mixes his drives well, going left and right almost equally in terms of frequency. But Anthony is significantly less effective when driving left and is almost entirely reliant on getting to the basket in these instances. It's a credit to his strength and speed that he is still able to finish at the basket a majority of the time even off of his weaker hand, so it's not an easy task to contain him when he's charging into the lane.
The best way for Pierce to defend Anthony is to try and force him left as much as possible, giving up the baseline drive when Anthony's on the left elbow and forcing him middle when Anthony is on the right. Melo's first step is dangerous but he will set up methodically on the wing and try and set his defender up with the threat of the pull-up, which he goes to often. Pierce would be wise to ignore the pump fakes and concentrate solely on the drive, being sure to overplay toward the weaker side and make Anthony drive through his chest.
There is no reason for Pierce to try and block shots, simply give ground and try and beat Anthony to the spot or funnel him into the interior defense. Anthony is sure to draw some fouls when driving to the basket because he'll put his head down and force the issue. His reputation will get him some of these calls no matter what the defensive positioning. Therefore, it is important for Pierce to not be overly-aggressive and try and "shut down" Anthony. Play to his vanity and give him the jumper early. If he misses the first few, tell him about it and see if you can't get into his head.
Anthony's tendencies: ISO(22% of the time), Single Covered/Post(16%), transition (15%)
- Goes right 53% of the time
- pulls up for jumper 45% of the time (NBA% very good: 67th percentile)
- drives to basket 55% of the time (NBA% excellent: 83rd percentile)
- Goes Left 47% of the time
- pulls up for jumper 47% of the time (NBA% below average: 22nd percentile)
- drives to basket 53% of the time (NBA% good: 58th percentile)