BOSTON -- Until this season, Carmelo Anthony hadn't won in Boston since joining the New York Knicks. But he has now done it twice -- on Jan. 24 and Tuesday night.
And when it happens potentially again and again -- perhaps in the playoffs if the two teams meet in the first round -- Melo will be immensely satisfied just the same every single time.
"We want to beat them," he said after the Knicks blew out the Boston Celtics, 100-85. "Let's just be quite frank about them: We always want to beat Boston. New York, in anything, wants to beat Boston, and when we do it's a great feeling. Right now, we're playing good basketball. A great road win for us, especially here in this arena knowing how hostile it can get here, knowing how well they play here at home in front of their fans. It just says a lot about our team."
Mike Woodson and his players expressed similar feelings about winning in Boston. For the Knicks coach, he knows how hard it is to win there.
"Boston has been dominant," Woodson said. "The history in this place is phenomenal. I played 11 years in the league and never won in the Boston Garden. That's how tough it was for me, and it's tough for a lot of teams to come here and win. But we're playing for something."
Said Kenyon Martin: "It's a tough building to play in -- playoffs, regular season. We know that. I know it all too well. We've been up big in this building and lost the game, a meaningful game. We know the crowd gets behind them."
With the Knicks-Celtics regular-season series nearly wrapped up -- they meet for the final time this Sunday in New York -- some of the postgame locker room talk turned to a what-if of a first-round meeting.
J.R. Smith recognizes the challenge facing the Celtics.
"We've just got to play the right way," he said. "This is a team that's very capable of coming out and beating us. They've still got great players on their team. It's just a matter of our mindset and how we're going to come to play."
Considering Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett didn't play Tuesday night due to injuries, that would make the matchup more interesting. Both teams would bring it defensively, but without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, Boston would be at a major disadvantage. The Knicks, on the other hand, have more depth at point guard and would benefit from having a younger and better centerpiece scorer in Anthony, who's one of the best clutch players in the game. Smith doing what he did Tuesday night (32 points in 34 minutes) isn't bad either.
Most importantly, the Knicks have the higher playoff seed as of now, which would mean home-court advantage. Not only are the Knicks 24-10 at home, but they're also 19-16 on the road. And the Celtics? Just 12-23 away from the TD Garden.
What are your thoughts on a Knicks-Celtics first-round showdown? Leave us your comments below.
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