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Carmelo Anthony likes Knicks chances as they open against Heat

Carmelo Anthony drives to the hoop during a

Carmelo Anthony drives to the hoop during a preseason game against the Nets. (Oct. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony couldn't wait for the regular season to start. Perhaps it's fitting now that the Knicks will open up against the Miami Heat, the team that ended their season last year and the one they so badly want to beat.

No one wants that more than Anthony. He's a close friend of LeBron James and wants to get some of the hardware and respect his good buddy has.

James has led his teams to three NBA Finals, won one title, three MVPs and is considered a great team player.

Anthony has been to the playoffs all nine years he's been in the NBA, but has won just two playoff series. He's been painted as a selfish, one-dimensional player, who helped push Mike D'Antoni and Jeremy Lin out the door. But Mike Woodson and Anthony's teammates see him differently and expect the five-time All-Star to have his best year.

"He wants to win in a big way," Woodson said. "The guy is a winner. He won a national title. He knows what winning is about. I know he definitely wants to win, without a doubt. I think he's going to do everything possible to make sure that that happens."

Anthony and the Knicks were ready to start the season Thursday night in Brooklyn. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg postponed the game because of damage to mass transit from Hurricane Sandy, making Friday night's game at the Garden against the Heat the Knicks opener. Miami ousted the Knicks in five games in the first round last season.

The Knicks have built a big, deep, defensive-minded team that they believe will be able to compete with the Heat and the Celtics in the Eastern Conference.

They won't have Amar'e Stoudemire until late December at the earliest after he undergoes a left knee debridement to clean out unhealthy tissue. But Anthony is confident the Knicks have enough to win and will get stronger as the season continues.

"I don't really want to jump the gun but I like my chances with the team I have," Anthony said. "I like the chemistry that's brewing right now with this team. We don't want to look ahead. We want to take it one day at a time and see what happens."

Anthony, who has averaged 24.7 points over his nine-year career, has been preaching team success. He said he's willing to score less and trust his teammates more.

He said that was the biggest thing he took from playing with James and the other stars on the Olympic team that won the gold medal in August. Tyson Chandler was on that team and said he expects a new and improved Anthony.

"I think this is going to be his breakout year," Chandler said. "I'm saying that as much as he's accomplished throughout his career already, but I think he's going to put together a complete season and show you everything that he's capable of doing out on the basketball floor."

Marcus Camby spent five seasons with Anthony in Denver. Camby said he's seen Anthony mature and thinks he's still developing as a player.

"I just think his confidence is at an all-time high, especially coming off the way he performed this summer over in the Olympics," Camby said. "His talent is limitless. To me it seems like he's getting better and better."

Notes & quotes: Camby (strained calf) went through all of practice and said he would be "available" for the opener. Since he has another day to get ready, it's likely Camby will play Friday.


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