The Boston Celtics didn't have Paul Pierce for the team's road opener against the New York Knicks, and had to start journeyman Sasha Pavlovic in his stead. You have to imagine New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony had to light up like lamp when he say that substitution line up across from him. Melo dropped 37 on the Celtics, including the game-winner as the Knicks pulled out a 106-104 win. (Pavlovic, meanwhile, contributed four fouls, an assist, a rebound and nothing else in 15 minutes of play.)
Melo shot a strong 10-17 from the field, 4-7 on threes and hit 13 of 15 free throws -- a true all-around scoring performance. He also hit the glass hard for eight rebounds. His running mate Amar'e Stoudemire added 21 on 8-11 shooting. In his Knicks debut, Tyson Chandler picked up six blocks in 37 minutes to go with seven points and three boards.
Rajon Rondo was a terror for Boston, racking up an unusually high 31 points with the completely normal 13 assists. Rondo shot 11-19 from the floor and went 9-12 from the line; according to HoopData.com, 10 of Rondo's field goal attempts came at the rim. He hit eight of those. Just about a third of the Celtics' shot came at the rim, and Boston shot 84 percent on those, indicating that even with Chandler, New York has some defensive work to do.
As do the Celtics, who aren't accustomed to letting opposing small forwards run gangbusters like Melo did. Per usual, Anthony drew fouls when he went to the bucket and did most of his scoring damage in the mid-range. He shot 4-5 on long two-pointers, and had just one FGA that didn't result in foul shots at the rim.