Carmelo Anthony, Knicks hoping for deep playoff run
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony has won enough to reach the playoffs every year of his career. But getting four victories at the end of April has been harder for Anthony than convincing anyone that he and Kevin Garnett are best buddies.
Only once in his first nine NBA seasons has Anthony gotten out of the first round. Just twice in that time has his team won more than one game in the opening round. Anthony's overall postseason record is 17-37, 1-8 as a Knick.
But Anthony hopes to change the narrative when the Knicks open their best-of-seven, first-round series against Boston Saturday. He hopes to do what Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James did the previous two years, flipping the script while proving they can carry their teams to an NBA title.
"I'm trying," Anthony said after practice Friday. "That's my goal, to go out there and play and have fun and hopefully win a championship. That's my goal. It starts [Saturday].''
Anthony and the second-seeded Knicks have plenty to prove this postseason after winning 54 games and their first Atlantic Division title in 19 years. Their season will be judged on whatever playoff success or failure they have.
The Knicks have had their own playoff troubles in recent years. They haven't won a series since 2000. Until they beat Miami in Game 4 last year, the Knicks had lost 13 consecutive playoff games.
This, however, is the first time since 2001 that the Knicks have had home-court advantage. They have it for two series, but Anthony first has to carry them past the seventh-seeded and dangerous Celtics.
"That's the challenging part," he said. "That's the fun part to know that we have an opportunity to do something special here. That's the fun part. I think that will be in the back of our minds as we go out there and play, to know that we have something special within our team and that we can make this run."
Anthony, who led the NBA in scoring by averaging 28.7 points, has said this was his best season and this is the best team he has been on.
He played on a 54-win team in Denver in 2008-09 that featured Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Chauncey Billups, Nene and Chris Andersen. They reached the Western Conference finals and lost to the Lakers in six games.
Anthony said the Knicks remind him of that team.
"Absolutely," he said. "It's just how deep of a team we are and how many weapons. It feels kind of similar to when I was back in Denver making that run. How we were playing, how we came together at the right time of the season. The time is now."
Jason Kidd could have an impact similar to the one Billups had on Denver. Kidd has played in three NBA Finals -- he won one as Nowitzki's teammate -- and is one of the league's best leaders and smartest players. Kidd helped Nowitzki grow as a player and has had an impact on Anthony.
"He's so talented," Kidd said. "He reminds me of Dirk . . . Now he's found 'I'm going to get the ball to my open teammates so I don't have to face two and three guys every night.'
"There's no pressure because there's great players who haven't won championships. You just hope you're at the right place at the right time and you have to be lucky. Hopefully this is the year luck is on the Knicks' side."
Notes & quotes: Pablo Prigioni (sprained ankle) is unlikely to play Saturday. Woodson said he'll start Chris Copeland or James White, but Copeland is the more likely option. "It's exciting," he said. "It's a big-time opportunity." . . . Iman Shumpert wasn't at practice for personal reasons, but Woodson said he will play in Game 1 . . . Anthony (36.9 points, 9.9 rebounds) was named Eastern Conference player of the month and Copeland (15.0 points) was named Eastern Conference rookie of the month.