- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: Carmelo Anthony recently called this season the best regular season of his career.
His postseason is off to a pretty good start too.
It wasn't always pretty, but Anthony gave the Knicks just enough to carry them to a Game 1 win over the Boston Celtics.
He finished with 36 points but needed 29 shots to get there. After making his first four, Anthony missed nine of his next 11. But he hit three big ones in the fourth quarter, none bigger than a 19-foot jumper to give the Knicks a seven-point lead with 1:21 to play. On New York's next possession, Anthony found Kenyon Martin with a pass over the top of the Celtics defense for a layup that basically sealed the win.
The second-seeded Knicks now have a 1-0 series lead. They haven't won a playoff series since 2000 but took a major step in the right direction on Saturday afternoon.
BIG DAY FOR D: The Celtics -- and Jeff Green in particular -- had their way with the Knicks in the first half. But New York clamped down after halftime. The Knicks held the Celtics to 7-for-27 shooting in the third and fourth quarters. Boston scored just 25 points in the second half -- yikes. And the Knicks held Green to just six points in the second half.
KIDD-ING AROUND: Jason Kidd had a typical afternoon, which meant he made several plays that won't show up in the box score but led directly to the Knicks' victory.
He came up with a steal and an offensive rebound early in the fourth quarter to maintain a Knicks possession, which ended with a Martin layup and foul to give the Knicks a 72-70 lead.
Kidd later had a steal with 4:43 to play that led to a Raymond Felton trip to the foul line. Felton's free throw gave the Knicks a five-point lead.
The 40-year-old Kidd finished with eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
OFF THE BENCH: J.R. Smith struggled from the floor, hitting just 7 of 19 shots. But he snapped a 1-for-6 shooting stretch with 5:44 to play when he hit a key layup to put the Knicks up by four.
CHANDLER A BIT OFF: Tyson Chandler appeared to be out of sync Saturday. He didn't attempt a shot in the first half and mishandled a Felton pass in the paint. He missed 16 of the final 20 regular-season games with a neck ailment.
Mike Woodson clearly felt more comfortable with Martin in the game, as Chandler played just six minutes in the second half.
Martin had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes.
WHAT'S NEXT: Game 2 of the series is Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
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3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann