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’Melo mindful of new challenges

Carmelo Anthony’s smile was as dazzling as his mid-range jumper while waiting to be introduced as a New York Knick at his maiden news conference.   

Carmelo Anthony’s smile was as dazzling as his mid-range jumper while waiting to be introduced as a New York Knick at his maiden news conference.

As he sat next to Chauncey Billups, listening to team owner James Dolan spout verbal bouquets about this magnanimous trade, Anthony was as giddy as can be. When it was his turn to speak, however, the seven-year vet quickly got introspective and spoke about the “big picture.” He even got a little defensive.

“I bring in experience and a high IQ and I want to focus on defense,” said Anthony, who’s never been known as a stopper on the other end of the floor. “We are a high-powered offense but that's not going to win.”

Anthony, who suited up in No. 7 in last night’s 114-108 win over Milwaukee, seemed well aware of his new team’s biggest challenge. Although the Knicks are second in the NBA in scoring at 106 points, they’re also second-worst at allowing 106.

"Our main goal is to make playoffs and once you do, anything can happen,” said Anthony who owns the third-highest career scoring average [30.4] at the Garden. "I'm excited to be playing in one of best cities and arenas in the world.”

After LeBron James spurned the Knicks last summer, Dolan insinuated he didn’t have the chops to make it in New York. The same can’t be said for this hometown boy.

“It takes a certain kind of person to want to play in New York City. The transition won’t be easy at first [but] I accept the challenges,” said the Brooklyn-born star. “I’m just glad it’s over. My mind was everywhere.”

The biggest obstacle for the Knicks to overcome is obvious – defense. Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are now the second-highest scoring tandem [51.3 ppg] in the league but it’ll be up to the superstars to lead by example defensively. Neither has ever been known to be stoppers – or stellar rebounders -- so it’ll be interesting to see how they can handle the size and intensity of the Eastern Conference powers.

Anthony is confident guys will “buy in” and play at least adequate defense and added he’s relieved that he doesn’t have to carry a franchise alone anymore.

"I can get 25-30 points a night but I have STAT [Stoudemire] to do that, too, so I can ride his coattails some," said Anthony who’s averaging 25.2 points per game. “I feel like I’m still dreaming right now [but]…we have to gel quickly.”

How quickly the new-look Knicks come together will go a long way into how long their extended season lasts. One thing for sure is that Dolan is all-in and said the Knicks are not done in putting together a product that will make the Knicks contenders again.

“We want to be in the position for long-term success so the fans and this city can have something to be proud of,” said Dolan. “This trade is another big step in that direction.”

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