Sunday, May 5, 2013
Notebook: Stephenson still owns MSG
By Ian Begley & Jared Zwerling
As a teenager, Lance Stephenson turned Madison Square Garden into his personal playground.
Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson had a big game against the Knicks on Sunday.
The Coney Island-bred Stephenson won four city championships at the Garden while starring at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn.
Apparently, some things never change.
Stephenson owned the Garden once again on Sunday. The third-year guard scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds in the Pacers' Game 1 win over the Knicks.
"It felt good," Stephenson said. "It always does in front of my family and friends. I tried to play smart and limit the mistakes.
"I love this building. I love playing here. Out of all the arenas ... there is something about these lights that gets me energized."
Stephenson was one of several Pacers who played with more energy than the Knicks. In the third quarter, he had five points, six rebounds and three steals to help Indiana outscored New York by 10.
"We got one in this building and we have to get another one," Stephenson said. "We just have to play hard."
MELO MUM ON SHOULDER:Carmelo Anthony played with a strap on his injured left shoulder. He winced and flexed his shoulder on several occasions, but did not want to talk about the it after the game.
"The shoulder’s the shoulder," he said. "It is what it is. It’s not something I’ll constantly talk about -- I’ll deal with it, probably get some treatment for it, and get through it."
Anthony originally injured his shoulder in Game 5 of the Knicks' first-round series against the Celtics. He said it popped in and out after Kevin Garnett tugged on it. He re-injured it in Game 6 in a collision with Avery Bradley.
Anthony shot 10-for-28 on Sunday and is 35-for-110 in his last four games.
ANOTHER RAY DAY:Raymond Felton got the better of the Celtics with his paint penetration in pick-and-rolls, and in Game 1 of this series he punished the Pacers with his continued attack off the dribble.
The point guard had another efficient double-figure scoring performance (18 points, 8-for-12 shooting), and his deep drives also led to dishes to Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin for buckets.
"If I'm aggressive being the point guard, a guy that's getting into the paint and try to get shots for everybody else, if I'm aggressive and I'm scoring, it's only going to open up for those guys more," Felton said.
Before the game, former Knicks president Donnie Walsh, who now works for the Pacers, raved about Felton. Walsh signed Felton in the summer of 2010 to complement Amar'e Stoudemire in pick-and-rolls.
"Raymond's an unheralded very, very good player, and will be there when you need him," Walsh said.
MELO'S MVP VOTE: Anthony finished third in the MVP race, which LeBron James won, and he received one first-place vote. Anthony was unaware, saying that his focus is only the playoffs.
"I learn something new every day," he said, smiling. "That's the furthest thing on my mind at this point in time. I'll take that though."
Anthony added, reflecting on his play: "I'll take it. I came into this season with a totally different mindset than I had in the past, as far as me as an individual, as far as our team. My goal was to win 50-plus games, to win our division, to get out of the first round and hopefully make it past the second round. That was my goal, and so far everything has been going the way I planned it, the way I saw it, and we're still here. As far as the MVP thing goes, LeBron gets it, I tip my hat off to him, he deserved it. He had a hell of a year, they had a hell of a year. To win 27 straight games, you can't top that, so I tip my hat off to LeBron for winning that award."