Knicks, Celtics rekindle rivalry in MSG

( - The sizzling hand of Carmelo Anthony will lead the New York Knicks into Tuesday night's matchup with the despised Boston Celtics at historic Madison Square Garden.

Anthony is second in the NBA with 27.2 points per game and has had the hot hand lately, averaging 30.5 ppg in his last 11. After pumping in a career-high and team-best 62 points on Friday versus Charlotte, Anthony netted 35 points in Sunday's 110-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Anthony made 14-of-31 shots for the Knicks, who have won two in a row since losing five straight and are 2-3 on an eight-game homestand.

"I wasn't looking to score 50 tonight," Anthony said afterward.

Anthony, who leads the league in minutes at 39.2 mpg, needs 39 points for 19,000 in his career and will become the 50th player in NBA history to reach that mark.

Raymond Felton scored 20 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 18 off the bench and J.R. Smith posted 16 in a reserve role. New York shot 47.8 percent to improve to 9-15 at MSG this season. The Knicks went 4-4 on an eight-game stay back in December of 1986.

The Knicks still have Cleveland and Miami to host on the homestand.

New York forward Metta World Peace is questionable Tuesday with an illness and knee issue, and hasn't played since Dec. 27 versus Toronto.

Boston will take a break from Beantown Tuesday when it visits the Garden.

The Celtics are mired in a lengthy funk, having lost two in a row, five of six and 17 of their last 20 games. In Sunday's loss to Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the Brooklyn Nets, Brandon Bass led the hosts with 17 points and Rajon Rondo ended with 13, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Chris Johnson and Gerald Wallace contributed 12 points apiece in the setback.

"I think I could shoot the ball a little better, but I can always do better and do little things to help the team," Johnson said.

Pierce and Garnett were traded to Brooklyn in the offseason and won an NBA title together with Boston in 2008.

"I was telling Kevin (Garnett) and everybody this was the toughest game I ever had to play," Pierce said of returning to Boston. "Tougher than any championship game, or any game seven. This game was just really hard to focus and concentrate on what was at hand."

The former Boston centerpieces combined for 12 points.

Boston is just 6-17 away from Beantown and will return home to host Philadelphia and Orlando later this week.

The Celtics are 2-0 against the Knicks this season and 9-5 in the past 14 meetings between the Atlantic foes. The Celtics have gone 14-6 in their last 20 visits to Madison Square Garden.