The Celtics ran a carousel of defenders at Carmelo Anthony. From Brandon Bass, to Paul Pierce, to Jeff Green, Anthony kept attacking. And no matter his struggles, by the end of the Knicks' 97-90 overtime loss in Game 4 on Sunday, Anthony wasn't feeling sorry for himself or his team as the first-round series heads back to New York.
Asked if he was overcompensating for the absence of J.R. Smith, who was suspended for elbowing Celtics guard Jason Terry in Game 3, Anthony shrugged it off. Asked if he was taking bad shots, the forward said he didn't think so.
"I think he was just being aggressive, doing what he do," said the Celtics forward, who watched as Anthony got the entire Boston frontline in foul trouble to score 16 of his 36 points at the foul line. "I think he was just playing his game. If he was trying to compensate for J.R., I don't know."
Simply put, despite the loss, Anthony was confident that New York came back from 20 points down in the third quarter. With a 3-1 lead, he didn't think the pressure was on.
"We didn't shoot the ball well today, at all, and still put ourselves in position to win the basketball game," Anthony said. "There's some upside to that. Not often we shoot 34 percent and 23 percent from the three-point line."
The Celtics, however, did find success in their most physically imposing performance of the series thus far. Doc Rivers' team primarily went with bruising big man Brandon Bass on Anthony and it paid dividends. The Knicks forward shot 10-for-35, didn't hit one of his seven three-point attempts, and had seven turnovers.
Without Smith, New York's offense didn't find itself until the third, when point guard Raymond Felton led the comeback with 16 points in the quarter.
"Felton was pretty good though," Rivers said. "He took the role of J.R. Smith and did a pretty good job of it tonight."
Anthony didn't appear worried after the game. The Knicks would have Smith back, they'd be at home and they likely aren't going to have such poor shooting two games in a row.
"I missed a ton of shots today," Anthony said. "Defensively we were still there. We look forward to Wednesday, I can tell you that."
Source: All quotes via the NBA.com postgame media stream.