The NBA roundup…
NEW YORK ó Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks know it will never be easy against the Celtics.
Not beating them in one game, and certainly not beating them for a division title.
But pulling out the kind of nail biter thatís long gone Bostonís way in this rivalry only reinforced the Knicksí belief that they can do it ó and even the Celtics see a difference.
Anthony scored 37 points, including a pair of free throws with the game tied and 16 seconds left, and New York survived a seesaw season opener Sunday to edge the Celtics 106-104.
ěMost importantly for us, as a new team, we showed something,î Anthony said. ěWe came together as a team. Even when we got down, there wasnít no frowns. Nobody was down. Mentally everybody was still up about it, and we willed our way to this win.î
Amare Stoudemire added 21 points and Toney Douglas had 19 for the Knicks, who led by 17 in the first half, trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter, then pulled out a thrilling Christmas victory in the delayed opener to the 2011-12 season.
Rajon Rondo had 31 points and 13 assists, nearly leading the Celtics back without an injured Paul Pierce. But Kevin Garnett missed a jumper just before the buzzer, the kind of shot Boston always seems to make against the Knicks.
ěThey seem to have a little swag and confidence behind them,î Garnett said. ěItís good for the city. Itís good for the Knicks. Iím going to see how consistent they are with that, but for the most part Carmelo played really well.î
THUNDER 97, MAGIC 89
OKLAHOMA CITY ó Kevin Durant scored 30 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder win their season opener with a 97-89 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.
Durant led the league in scoring the past two seasons, including averaging 27.7 last season. On Sunday, he was 11-of-19 from the field and added five rebounds and six assists.
James Harden added 19 points and the Thunder held Orlando star Dwight Howard to just 11 points.
The Thunder lost to Dallas last year in the Western Conference finals but are expected to one of the top teams this season. They led throughout, including by 18 at the end of the third quarter and really were never in danger of losing. Meanwhile, the Magic looked like a team that was still dealing with the distraction of Howard and his trade demands, which dominated headlines in Orlando since the lockout ended.
NBA commissioner David Stern weighed in on the Howard situation Sunday, saying before the game, ěThatís the beauty of the soap opera. How it plays out, weíll wait and see.î
Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins did a good job on Howard. The Magicís star center averaged more than 22 points per game last year, shooting 59 percent for the season.
He did have 15 rebounds.
A 13-2 run in the second quarter, after Durant and Russell Westbrook checked back in, helped the Thunder get out to a 17-point lead. They led 55-41 at the break. Durant had 14 points in the first half.
Ryan Anderson scored 25 points and Jameer Nelson added 18 for the Magic, who shot just 37 percent from the field and had 18 turnovers.
The Associated Press