Anthony brushes off Garnett feud ahead of rematch
Carmelo Anthony knew the topic of Honey Nut Cheerios would be rehashed the next time he faced Boston, but the MVP candidate refused to open old wounds when it came to discussing Celtics forward Kevin Garnett.
“We just want to win,” Anthony said, adding the personal feud is done. “Honestly, it’s not even on my mind right now. It hasn’t been on my mind since that day.”
The Knicks (25-14) are in a dogfight for first place, only a game ahead of the Nets (25-16) in the Atlantic Division, and Anthony said he’d rather focus on Thursday night’s tilt in Boston than belabor the Jan. 7 skirmish with Garnett over the alleged abusive words the Celtics’ forward said about Anthony’s wife.
“[Boston is] always a hostile environment anyway, so I’m not expecting nothing different. … It’ll be fun, knowing what’s at stake, with us facing Boston,” Anthony said. “All that other stuff I’ll leave behind.”
Anthony said the bigger problem for the Knicks isn’t Garnett’s mouth, but rather his defensive intensity. He anchors a defense that is ninth in the league, allowing just 96 points per game. The last time these teams faced off, the Celtics won and a distracted Anthony shot 6-of-26 from the field. Overall, the Knicks shot 41 percent, while the Celtics shot 62 percent.
“Thursday’s definitely a big game for myself and us as a team to get us on the right track,” Anthony said. “Do we owe them? Yes, [because] they came here and beat us. We want to go there and return the favor on their court. … We can’t get that game [on Jan. 7] back.”
The Knicks and their faithful just hope Anthony gets his shot back. Ever since his amazing fourth quarter in a comeback win over the Magic in Orlando on Jan. 5, he is shooting just 39 percent. Not only is he missing the difficult shots that not many others can make, but he’s also clanking the quality shots — mostly due to the absence of point guard Raymond Felton.
Anthony said it’s a collective issue they better figure out — and fast, considering the stingy Celtics’ defense is next.
“I almost have to [score] more,” Anthony said. “But we all have to find scoring from somewhere. Until Ray comes back, we’ll continue to play the way we’re playing and take it from there.”
» Perhaps the biggest argument for Felton’s value is that the Knicks are 20-8 with him in the lineup and just 5-6 without him.
» Felton said he’d “love to play” Thursday in Boston, but the team’s doctors are “holding me back.” Felton said he could definitely play if it was up to him, but added the risk outweighs the rewards on a pinkie that suffered fractures in three places. Felton noted that if he broke it again by prematurely playing, he’d likely be out “months, instead of weeks, because then I’d need surgery.”
» Point guard Pablo Prigioni didn’t practice on Wednesday, missing his second-straight practice. While head coach Mike Woodson officially listed the Argentine as questionable with a big toe injury, Prigioni said he’ll likely play and felt “better” after another day’s rest.
» In order to make up for the hole at point guard, Woodson said he’ll start Jason Kidd at the position, but won’t hesitate to also play Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Prigioni (if available) and even Anthony again — although Anthony certainly hopes he’s done with the point-forward experiment.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.