Melo says new MSG is a "great atmospere"

The Knicks played their annual "Blue and Orange" scrimmage on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

For the players and most fans, it was their first opportunity to check out the renovations at the Garden.

Carmelo Anthony was impressed with the new digs.

"I love it," Anthony said after running through drills and scrimmaging in front of about 10,500 fans on Sunday. "It's a little bit more intimate. Especially back here in the locker room. Just the whole area back here is incredible."

The new locker room is circular, as opposed to the rectangular locker room in the pre-renovated building. The ceiling features a replica of the pinwheel ceiling found inside the Garden.

The new lower bowl seating has improved sight lines for fans. Seats in the lower bowl are now in a continuous slope rather than split into two distinct sections.

Anthony said it feels like fans are closer to the action now.

"It feels like they’re on top of you," he said. "It’s just a great atmosphere out there."

The "transformation" of the arena is broken up into three phases. The first phase was completed over the summer; the second and third are scheduled to be completed in the summers of 2012 and 2013, respectively.

To Mike D'Antoni, the new Garden is a perfect home for his new-look Knicks.

"It's just like a new beginning," D'Antoni said. "It kind of fits the team that’s newly put together and should be together for a while."

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