NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony had 21 points and eight rebounds, and the New York Knicks tuned up for the NBA season opener by beating the New Jersey Nets 88-82 on Wednesday night.
Amare Stoudemire scored 15 points, and Tyson Chandler added eight points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who host the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon in the first game of the 2011-12 season.
Neither team looks ready for real games to start: The Nets made 50 percent of their free throws, 15 percent of their 3-point attempts, and starting guard Anthony Morrow was 0 for 10 from the field. The Knicks shot 34 percent overall.
“We know it’ll be a lot different Sunday against the Celtics,” Anthony said. “They’re preparing for us, we’re preparing for them. We have the first NBA game of the season and we’re excited about that. We’re just ready to go out there and get this thing rolling.”
Point guard Toney Douglas finished with 13 points in the first NBA game at Madison Square Garden since renovations began on the arena. He got additional time after his backup, Mike Bibby, sat out the second half with back spasms.
Kris Humphries, who re-signed earlier Wednesday with the Nets, entered in the second quarter for his first action since his failed marriage to reality star Kim Kardashian. The forward was loudly booed every time he touched the ball in his brief stint, a reception that rivaled what LeBron James received in his first visit here last season after choosing Miami over New York.
“It’s tough, it’s a tough situation. New York fans are New York fans,” said Anthony, who attended the wedding. “I like it, to be honest with you. That’s how it should be. Our fans shouldn’t be cheering for nobody else.”
Chants of “We want Humphries! We want Humphries!” broke out in the fourth quarter, but he did not return.
“I felt like Rudy,” Humphries said.
Added Deron Williams: “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard a crowd rooting for an opposing player to enter the game. It was a nice gesture,” he added sarcastically.
Williams scored 21 points and Brook Lopez had 15, though 11 came against Knicks reserves in the fourth quarter. New York completed a sweep of the two-game series after winning at New Jersey on Saturday.
“We did a great job defensively, that’s the first thing we’ve got to try to get our grips on,” Stoudemire said. “Offense is going to come, we’re very talented offensively, that’s going to happen, but defense is where we seem to be making our strides.”
Among the changes at the arena after the first of a planned three-year project were new locker rooms and the removal of the tunnel from where players used to enter the court.
Before the game, the Knicks announced they had claimed Steve Novak off waivers after he was cut by San Antonio.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)