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12:21 PM, April 12, 2011 ι [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] Carmelo Anthony spilled blood on the Garden court in his first match vs. Boston as a member of the Knicks. And he’s expecting nothing less when the Knicks and Celtics resume their longstanding rivalry – expected to start Sunday in Game 1 in Beantown.
“Brutal battles, man.’’ said the Brooklyn-born Anthony, reflecting on the Celtics-Knicks history. “Wars. It’s going to be a very intense, high-energy series. They got something to prove. We have something to prove. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be crazy. We just have to keep our composure. It’s going to be a very physical series. That’s the way they play.’’
The Celtics, with a distinct size advantage, own a 3-0 edge in the season series and beat the Knicks 96-86 in their lone meeting since the trade by finishing on a 13-0 run on March 21. Anthony received five stitches above the eye from a Rajon Rondo fourth-quarter elbow.
Anthony probably would have preferred Miami and a chance to go at LeBron James, whom he’s fared well against since high school. Asked for his prediction against the Celtics, Anthony said, “I’m not Nostradamus. I don’t make predictions.’’
But Anthony added, “I’m excited about it. We look forward to it. We have to start fine-tuning some things for that series. Their team has been together for a long time. They know what it takes to get there. It’s a lot of (our) guys first time in the playoffs. We want to prepare ourselves for everything.’’
The Knicks have won seven straight and are starting to jell.
“I always felt confident, even when I first got here,’’ said Anthony, whose seen the club recover from a 1-9 stretch. “It just so happens it’s clicking right now for us, to win seven straight going down the stretch into the playoffs. It’s a big momentum swing and confidence booster for us.’’
The Celtics have floundered since the Kendrick Perkins trade, and are 9-11 in their past 20. They also have been ripped in the Boston media for sitting their top studs Monday night in Washington, seemingly forfeiting a chance for the second seed. The 95-94 overtime loss to the Wizards sealed the Celtics as the No. 3 seed.
D’Antoni does not think they were doing it so they can get the Knicks. In fact, a source said they had been told the Celtics coaching staff preferred a series with the seventh-seeded Sixers.
“They were probably thinking Miami would lose,’’ D’Antoni said.
Asked if the Knicks should be viewed as a dangerous first-round opponent, D’Antoni said, “We can be that. I have enough talent on the team.’’
Chauncey Billups, who has a rough matchup with Rajon Rondo, said, “We got our hands full.’’