Melo scored 27 points, J.R. Smith had 20 and the Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 100-84 on Sunday in the opener of home-and-home series.
"I think at the end of the day, we know what type of guys we have on this team, we know what's at stake and we want to win," Anthony said. "That's the only thing that's on our minds."
Jason Kidd had 12 points and six assists, and Raymond Felton added 11 points for the Knicks (2-0), who followed their 19 3-pointers in a season-opening victory over Miami by making 11 Sunday. They have won their two games by a combined 36 points and are 2-0 for the first time since winning their first three games in the 1999-00 season.
"I think when you share the basketball it becomes contagious, and guys, they feed into it," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "And the fact that we have so many guys that can make shots, you don't know who's going to get you on any given night."
Both teams are missing high-priced big men because of knee problems. But while center Andrew Bynum's absence could have a big effect on the 76ers, the Knicks have so far shown that they can perhaps space the floor better using a smaller lineup without forward Amar'e Stoudemire.
"They're very tough to defend. They're playing really good defense," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "It's a very difficult team to play because they can post or they can spread you and they really move the ball really well. They're playing very unselfish basketball."
The Knicks led for most of the first quarter, getting nine points each from Anthony and Felton en route to a 31-25 lead. They pushed it into double digits in the second and never let the 76ers put much of a dent in it, extending it to 71-55 with 4:25 left in the third on a combined 79-year-old hookup. Kidd, 39, rifled a pass inside to 40-year-old Kurt Thomas, the NBA's oldest player, who scored and was fouled.
"The experience that we have on this locker room, it doesn't take long to understand how to play the game and that's what we have here," Kidd said, "is guys who know how to play the game and understanding their roles and doing it well."
Philadelphia finally got it down to nine at the end of three, but Smith hit consecutive 3-pointers to push it back to 15, and he made another to give the Knicks their largest lead at 86-69 with 8:23 to play.The Knicks cruised from there, even getting a basket from Rasheed Wallace, back in the NBA at 38 after two years of retirement. Anthony, one of the NBA's elite scorers but not known for doing much else, was active defensively, even leaping over a row of chairs trying to save a ball he'd knocked free in the first quarter. He said he knew where he was going to land so wasn't worried about injury, but his teammates were impressed anyway.
"It's really contagious when you see your star player going out there, diving in the crowd, giving up open shots, going for loose balls. It really filters throughout the team," Smith said. "So as long as he keeps doing it, I think everybody won't have a problem doing it."
The 76ers also lost starting guard Jason Richardson less than two minutes in when he sprained his left ankle after stepping on a camera man behind the baseline. X-rays were negative but he won't play Monday.
Is Evan Turner ready to guard the Kobe's, Lebron's, and Melo's of the league?
What The Knicks Must Do for a W
- Keep up the good ball movement. We won't win with a stagnant iso ball offense.
- Take advantage of when Melo is being double teamed. (this can lead to easy buckets especially for guys that can stroke the three)
- Bench must contribute (Guys like Smith, Novak, Prigioni have to lead the second unit).
Will the Sixers come back to their hometown with a chip on their shoulder? Can the Knicks keep up their impressive ball movement and defense? We'll see on Monday, Nov 5 at 7:00 PM ET. GO KNICKS!