Carmelo Anthony has score to settle with Celtics, not Kevin Garnett

Carmelo Anthony looks on late in the game

Carmelo Anthony looks on late in the game against the Boston Celtics. (Jan. 7, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony says he's going to Boston to try and get a win, not payback or revenge on Kevin Garnett.

Anthony has calmed down from the night of Jan. 7, when he had to be restrained outside the Celtics' locker room and was surrounded by New York City police and security near Boston's bus to prevent an altercation with Garnett.

Anthony said the bad blood he felt for Garnett won't carry over to the court Thursday night when these bitter rivals square off in Boston.

"On my end, there's nothing left over," Anthony said Tuesday. "It's just another game on the schedule. It just so happens we play the Celtics on their home court. As far as anything being left over, it's a new ballgame for us. Honestly, that's not even on my mind right now and it hasn't been on my mind since that day."

Seeing Garnett and listening to whatever he may say during Thursday's game could bring it all back for Anthony. But it would be better for the Knicks, whose lead on the Nets in the Atlantic Division has shrunk to one game, if Anthony took out any anger he has on Boston.

Garnett reportedly made derogatory remarks about Anthony's wife, LaLa, two weeks ago at the Garden. It set off Anthony, who lost his cool during and after the Knicks' 102-96 loss. Anthony missed six of his last seven shots and headed to the Celtics' locker room after the final buzzer. He later waited by their bus before police and security intervened. The NBA suspended Anthony one game.

He said he and Garnett have spoken since then. It has been suggested that Anthony sent Garnett and the Celtics a message by standing up to the notorious trash-talker. But Boston still won the game and it had the effect Garnett wanted on Anthony: It took him out of his game.

"I don't care what message I sent to them," Anthony said. "I want to win and do whatever it takes to win. Thursday is a definite big game for myself and the team, get us back on the right track."

Anthony said he is expecting a hostile environment in Boston. The Knicks and Celtics always play heated games, and this episode should only add to the intensity. The referees probably will call it very closely to try to avoid another incident. But the Knicks expect Garnett to continue to trash talk.

"It's just a part of the game," Amar'e Stoudemire said. "As long as it's nothing personal and it doesn't continue to go off the court, you're fine. He's going to talk trash . . . Be silent and let the game speak for itself."

The Knicks struggled lately in grind-it-out, physical, playoff-type games, which is why Thursday is a big test. They're 0-3 against the Bulls, lost Monday to the Nets and haven't forgotten the loss to Boston.

"Do we owe them? Yes," Anthony said. "They came in and beat us. We can't get that game back. We lost it on our home court against them. We have the opportunity to do the same thing to them . . . That is our focus."

Notes & quotes: Pablo Prigioni didn't practice because of a bruised left big toe he suffered against the Nets. The Knicks expect him to play Thursday.

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