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Carmelo Anthony

December 26, 2011 by staff 

Carmelo AnthonyCarmelo Anthony, Carmelo Anthony spent more than eight minutes in the third quarter on the bench in foul trouble, watching the old Celtics [team stats] do to the new Knicks what they did to them eight times last season. When he re-entered, Anthony finally put a stop to it.

And with the game on the line, the Knicks got the stops they needed.

The Knicks feel they’re good enough to challenge the Celtics and the rest of the NBA’s elite teams. It’s only one game, but Anthony showed he’s up for the challenge with a scintillating Christmas performance that helped erase a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Anthony scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning foul shots with 16.3 seconds left, to lead the Knicks to a 106-104 win in front of 19,763 fans at Madison Square Garden in the first game of the NBA season.

“As a new team we showed something,” Anthony said. “Even when we got down, there weren’t any frowns. Nobody was down mentally. We willed our way to this win.”

Unlike last year’s playoffs when the Knicks were swept by Boston, they finished and defended late. They held the Celtics, who were without Paul Pierce [stats] due to a foot injury, to 17 fourth-quarter points.

Amar’e Stoudemire scored 21 points and Tyson Chandler made his presence felt in his Knicks’ debut. The big man had seven points, six blocks and three rebounds.

The Celtics were led by Rajon Rondo [stats]’s 31 points and Ray Allen had 20. Kevin Garnett scored 15, but missed an open 14-foot jumper from the right wing with 0.8 seconds left.

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