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Carmelo: ‘No pressure’ in playoffs
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 17, 2013 @ 10:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK — This is why Carmelo Anthony came to New York, and this is why the New York Knicks gave away so much to get him. When the playoffs begin, the team wants to be relevant. And this season, for the first time since 1999-2000 when they reached the Eastern Conference finals, the Knicks are relevant in the postseason.
Anthony is responsible for that.
The 10-year veteran and six-time All-Star transformed his game and his reputation to lead the fabled franchise to the Atlantic Division title and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks open the playoffs against the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics this weekend.
“I did envision us being up the top one or two in the Eastern Conference. I did envision us winning our division eventually,” said Anthony, who came to the Knicks from the Denver Nuggets in a trade-deadline deal two seasons ago. “Right now, this playoff series is important for myself. It’s very important for us as a team, as a city (and) as an organization. We’re looking forward to this.”
He’s not the only one. Of all the players in the playoffs, who has more to prove than Anthony? His 2003 draft classmates and two good friends, the Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, have championship rings. Maybe Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard are on the list as well.
Anthony has led a team out of the first round once: in 2009, when the Nuggets lost in the Western Conference finals. Rarely, though, has one of Anthony’s teams been the higher seed.
Hope of a franchise
Film director and famous Knicks fan Spike Lee, wearing an orange fedora, orange sweater and blue pants, points to the Madison Square Garden rafters and the 1969-70 and 1972-73 championship banners.
“It’s all about championships,” Lee said. He didn’t say the pressure of getting it falls on Anthony, but Lee added, “All the great players want that kind of pressure, and Carmelo is one of the greats.”
With more than a first- and second-round appearance expected, Anthony doesn’t feel the weight.
“I don’t feel pressure,” he said. “There’s … [For more on Carmelo Anthony: 'No pressure' in playoffs with Knicks, click here.]
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