NEW YORK (WFAN) — Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks are finally starting to come together. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Mike D’Antoni, whose team will open round one of the NBA playoffs Sunday night against the Boston Celtics.

“I think he enjoys playing the way we want him to play,” the Knicks’ head coach told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Thursday morning. “I think he can see it can be good for him.”

The Knicks have come under fire all season long for their play on defense, something D’Antoni takes issue with.

“We know that defense is totally important,” he said. “We don’t come in and go, ‘Guys, you know what, don’t try today. We’re good.'”

LISTEN: Mike D’Antoni with Boomer & Carton | Download

Amar’e Stoudemire, out since April 6, returned for D’Antoni on Wednesday night. The game could have been a high-octane playoff preview. Instead, Stoudemire was the only star on the court.

“We’re ready,” said D’Antoni. “Amar’e is 100 percent and fired up. We’ll see. … We know the challenge ahead of us.”

Challenge? The Celtics are limping into the playoffs while the Knicks, until this week’s loss to Chicago, were riding a seven-game winning streak.

“Yeah they swept us (this season),” said D’Antoni. “But one game with ‘Melo and we’re up ten going into the fourth quarter. So yeah, we look at the positive side of it.”

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