Two seasons ago, when Carmelo Anthony was still playing for Denver, Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer pulled some averages from a 12-game stretch of the Nuggets' season:
In a 12-game stretch from January 9 until January 30, Denver Nuggets super-scorer Carmelo Anthony(notes) averaged 21.8 points per game, and shot 41.5 percent from the floor. This compares unfavorably with his season-long averages of just under 25 points and 46 percent shooting. And though part of that streak took place on an Eastern road swing for Anthony's Nuggets, those games saw Denver going up against some of the East's lesser lights: Detroit, Cleveland, Washington and Philadelphia. The Nuggets played the Heat and Lakers during that span, but they also played the Cavaliers twice.
It wasn't random. Back then, Anthony told reporters that he was observing the the Daniel Fast, culled from Daniel 10:2-3: "At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over." Whether he's following exactly the same rules or not, Anthony has apparently been fasting again, telling Knicks reporters after today's win over the Hornets that he he'd been on a strict diet in the past 15 days, a time span that includes six games and New Years Eve. (Anthony didn't mention lotions to reporters, but if he's been looking particularly dry to anyone that's seen him up close, it's probably because of the Daniel Fast.)
Carmelo Anthony has apparently been fasting for the last 15 days. So there's that.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) January 13, 2013
More Carmelo Anthony: "No meats, no carbs. I don’t know how I was out there competing at a high level."— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) January 13, 2013
He is now giving up:
Carmelo Anthony on fasting: “I usually do it sometimes to get some clarity in my life. I’m done now. I can’t do it anymore. I surrender."— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) January 13, 2013
More Carmelo Anthony: "These past 3, 4 games the body has just felt depleted. I was just trying to find other ways to get energy.”— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) January 13, 2013
And like last time (and like Anthony hinted at himself) the fast might have been affecting his play:
Over the last 15 days (6 gms), Melo has shot 30.8% & averaged 6.5 points in the 1Q. In the 24 gms before that: 53.5% & 9.8 points per 1Q.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) January 13, 2013
For precedent, we need not only look to Anthony's own history with fasting—Hakeem Olajuwon famously fasted during Ramadan. (As he says, the experience is not meant to teach what it's like to be hungry and thirsty during a game, but what it's like to be hungry and thirsty all the time.) Olajuwon's statistics didn't vary while he fasted, and Anthony's two forays into spiritual self-denial probably don't offer a large enough sample size to draw any concrete conclusions about the way it affects him, tempting as that may be.
That said, we now have to ask: Was Anthony angry because Kevin Garnett mentioned his wife, or because he mentioned food?