Anthony carried the Knicks with 37 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, as New York defeated the Washington Wizards 117-110 on Saturday night.
With the game tied at 106, Anthony's deep pull-up jumper over Wizards forward Jared Dudley put New York (2-1) up for good with 1:35 left in the back-and-forth battle. Guard Langston Galloway drained a 3-pointer on New York's next possession for a 111-106 lead. The Wizards scored the next four points, but Anthony then hit four straight free throws.
That one of the league's top scorers lit up the scoreboard or made clutch plays isn't surprising. Then again, Anthony stated at Saturday's morning shootaround that he questioned his perimeter touch. He started the season 1 of 12 on 3-point attempts.
Anthony started Saturday's game with two misses including an airball. Then he hit one shot and another, eventually making eight straight. He finished 11 of 18 from the field, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc while making 11 of 12 free throws.
"I shot an airball and I thought this was one of those nights again," Anthony said with a smile after the game. "Then I just kept it going. That's all I can do."
Words from Dudley over the summer helped fuel Anthony's effort. During a radio interview, Dudley called the Knicks forward the most overrated player in the league.
"It got back to me," Anthony stated. "It becomes competitive at that point and shows what you're made of."
Guard Bradley Beal scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half and guard John Wall had 25 points for the Wizards (2-1). Forward Otto Porter added 16 points.
Washington was attempting to open a season 3-0 for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign.
"You score 110 points, you better win," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "The commitment to defend is not there."
Galloway scored 14 points and forward Lance Thomas had 12 points in the first of four meetings against the Wizards this season. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak for New York in the series.
Wittman and other members of the organization attended memorial services for former Wizards coach Flip Saunders in Minnesota Saturday. Because of the travel time, Wittman missed the start of the game, but joined the Wizards bench starting the second quarter. Assistants Don Zierden and Don Newman handled coaching duties at the start.
"Flip would have wanted me to coach," Wittman said. "He wouldn't have wanted me to miss a game, based on him, I can guarantee that," Wittman said. "I had a good day with the [Saunders] family, an opportunity to spend some time with them, but it was tough, tough day."
Washington rallied for a 118-113 win at Milwaukee on Friday night against the Bucks. Beal scored 26 points and sank 4 of 5 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Against the Knicks, Beal once again saved his best for the second half. He scored 11 points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer in the final seconds to give Washington a 90-87 lead.
Starting with the final six points of the first half, New York turned a 16-4 run into a 69-60 lead.
New York, which lost numerous close games last season, improved to 2-0 on the road.
"They really do desire to become a team," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. "This type of game really forces you either to be a team, figure out how to win it or break apart. They showed a lot of teamwork tonight."
Anthony scored 18 points in the first half as the Knicks led 59-56.
"It's all about his rhythm. Once he gets his rhythm, he's hard to defend," Wizards forward Otto Porter said. "He's a different player this year."
Actually, Anthony is just doing his usual thing.
"I'm never surprised but I'll take it," Anthony said when asked if he was surprised about his potent performance. "You build it, it will come. I've been putting in the work for a long time."
NOTES: Flip Saunders, coach and president for the Minnesota Timberwolves, succumbed to lymphoma on Sunday. Saunders, 60, also coached the Wizards for two-plus seasons. Randy Wittman replaced Saunders as Washington's head coach in 2012. ... New York made 9-of-19 3-pointers while Washington finished 6 of 22. The teams combined for 62 fouls. ... Knicks center Kevin Seraphin (sore right knee) was active after missing the first two games. Seraphin signed with New York this summer after spending his first five NBA seasons with the Wizards. ... New York returns home to face the San Antonio Monday. Washington is off until Wednesday when the Spurs visit.