Melo: I have a 'vendetta' against Boston

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
1:32
AM ET

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesYes, Carmelo Anthony remembers what happened against Boston last season.
The Knicks' first-round loss to Boston last spring still stings Carmelo Anthony.

"I think that's in the back of our minds," Anthony said of the Celtics' 4-0 sweep of the Knicks in the 2010 postseason. "For me personally, I was on a personal vendetta because I get tired of hearing it. We get tired of hearing it."

The Knicks allowed the Celtics to score an average of 107 points per game in two playoff games at Madison Square Garden last spring. Boston beat the Knicks soundly in the final two games of series, winning by an average of 19.5 points.

Anthony said Wednesday that the loss to the Celtics provided motivation for him and the Knicks to improve on defense.

Never known as a defensive stopper, Anthony has been more active on the defensive end in recent games. He had five steals in the last two games -- both Knicks wins.

It would be foolish to expect Anthony to be an all-league defender, but he seems to be putting forth the effort recently.

"These last five, six games we've been doing a great job," Anthony said after the Knicks' 85-79 win over Philadelphia. "Teams are only averaging [92] points on us [in the last five]. Now, we've just got to get our offense better than our defense."

On Wednesday, the Knicks held Philadelphia to 39 percent shooting, including 3-for-15 from beyond the arc.

They have held their last three opponents to under 90 points.

"We're starting to buckle down on the defensive end," Anthony said. "I've been saying it for the last week: We're starting to trust one another. We're having people have each other's backs out there. We're starting to put three, four quarters together."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2