NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – This is the Carmelo Anthony Knicks fans have been waiting for.
Anthony had 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double on Tuesday night. It was the latest in a string of red-hot performances by the superstar forward.
And with the 118-110 victory over the Boston Celtics, the Knicks’ Atlantic Division title hopes remain alive.
“Melo is playing like we all thought he could play,” said interim head coach Mike Woodson. “And it is a beautiful thing to watch.”
Anthony said on WFAN this week that after Mike D’Antoni’s resignation, Woodson had challenged him to take on a leadership role.
“It was a new start for me, it was a new start for the team,” he told Boomer & Carton on Monday. “It was a new start for the New York Knicks.”
Though it seemed so at times Tuesday, it wasn’t all Melo. He had major help beyond the arc from two Knicks super-subs.
JR Smith and Steve Novak both scored 25 points for the Knicks, who overcame a season-high 43 points from Paul Pierce and moved into sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference while trimming Boston’s division lead to 3½ games.
Novak hit eight 3s in the highest-scoring game of his career. Smith made all seven of his 3s in the first half, equaling a team record. All told, the Knicks hit 19 3-pointers.
“Our bench was great tonight,” Anthony said. “Novak and JR, them guys combined for 50 points off the bench. When they get hot like that, it’s hard to deal with.”
The Celtics watched Anthony score 42 points in a losing effort against Miami on Sunday and apparently overreacted to it, trying so hard to get the ball out of his hands that they didn’t pay enough attention to his supporting cast.
“We panicked,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said. “We trapped too early. We were doing things that we shouldn’t have done. It happens. We talked about it at halftime. I thought we were better at it and then we did it again in the fourth quarter out of nowhere. Good lesson though. I told our guys it was a really good lesson for us: Don’t overreact to one great player and I thought we did that.”
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