The Knicks opened the 2011-2012 NBA season in style with a 106-104 win over their hated archival Boston Celtics.
Behind a heroic and efficient effort by star small forward Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks held on by the skin of their teeth as both Marquis Daniels and Kevin Garnett missed open shots to respectively win or tie the game.
The Knicks jumped out to a huge lead out of the gate and maintained a double digit spread through the first half. Power forward Amar’e Stoudemire displayed a new element of his game, nailing two first half three pointers. The three point shot could present a dangerous new offensive threat for Stoudemire, who hinted in the offseason that he was developing it.
The Celtics chipped away at the Knicks in the third quarter as the Knick defense, particularly Stoudemire’s, failed to maintain the intensity with which they started the game. Celtics forward Brandon Bass beat Stoudemire to too many rebounds which led to multiple second chance points for the Celtics on their third quarter run. Star point guard Rajon Rondo also sliced the Knicks up in transition as the Celtics charged ahead.
But the New York defense tightened up in the final frame behind center Tyson Chandler’s six blocks and help defense in the paint. Offensively, Anthony scored 17 points in the fourth to rescue the Knicks and help them ultimately take the lead for good.
*Anthony scored a hyper efficient 37 points on a mere 17 shots by hitting four three pointers and getting to the charity stripe 15 times (making 13).
*Chandler didn’t corral many rebounds (3), but he was extremely alive on both ends, constantly setting multiple picks on nearly every offensive possession, along with the aforementioned six blocked shots.
*Knicks fans had quite a scare when Celtics reserve Chris Wilcox rolled over the knee of Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert, who had to be helped into the locker room. Early word is that Shumpert has a sprained MCL and will be out two to four weeks.