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Anthony: I wanted to talk, not fight, with Garnett

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Anthony: I wanted to talk, not fight, with Garnett

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Carmelo Anthony said Tuesday he lost his cool after Kevin Garnett said things to him that he feels shouldn't be said to ``another man.''

Anthony said he sought out Garnett after the Knicks' loss to Boston on Monday night so they could discuss it. He would not elaborate on what was said.

Anthony went toward the Celtics' locker room and waited for Garnett outside the team bus. He said they have spoken and sorted out the matter.

``There's certain things that you just don't say to men, another man,'' Anthony said. ``I felt like we crossed a line, but like I said, we both had an understanding right now, we handled it the way we handled it. Nobody needs to know what was said behind closed doors, so that situation was handled.''

The All-Star forwards exchanged words during the game and Anthony clearly was affected. He shot 6 of 26, seeming at times in the second half to be most concerned with pushing and shoving Garnett, and acknowledged Tuesday that he ``allowed some negativity to come into my circle.''

The NBA is investigating and has video evidence. It could decide to penalize Anthony, who said he shouldn't be suspended.

``Nothing happened for me to be suspended,'' he said. ``I wanted to talk to KG. I think it was something we both needed to get off our chest and see what really the problem was. No altercations, it was just some words and a conversation that we needed to have.''

Anthony and Garnett had both received technical fouls with 9:03 remaining in the game after some physical play followed by jawing back and forth from the baseline to midcourt. After the Knicks' 102-96 loss, Anthony went the wrong direction toward the Celtics' locker room in hopes of finding Garnett.

``It's over with for me. Whatever happened last night, happened. The words that was being said between me and Garnett, it happened, can't take that away,'' Anthony said. ``I lost my cool yesterday, I accept that, but there's just certain things that push certain people's buttons.''

Anthony has been called for eight technical fouls, one off the league lead, and was thrown out of a physical loss against Chicago after he picked up two. Anthony was once suspended 15 games by the NBA for punching former Knicks guard Mardy Collins in the face during a brawl while playing for Denver, and the Knicks need their leading scorer and the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week to walk away rather than be baited into exchanges.

``We've sat down and we've talked about it,'' Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. ``Listen, Melo's been playing at a high level and Melo likes winning. He's tasted that here and he's a big part of why we're winning and hey, he just can't have slippage like that.''

The Knicks' next game is Thursday at Indiana.

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Backstrom the catalyst behind Capitals' trip to the edge of advancement

Backstrom the catalyst behind Capitals' trip to the edge of advancement

WASHINGTON — It had been nine years since Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom last had a four-point game in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That was a different time, an era when Backstrom and his teammates too often faltered under the weight of enormous expectations.  That’s all gone now. There is a Stanley Cup banner hanging in the rafters at Capital One Arena to prove it. Now they can all just play. 

With teammate T.J. Oshie hurt and likely out for the season, Backstrom continued to raise his own game in Game 5 of a first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes. He had two goals and two assists in a 6-0 thrashing as Washington took a 3-2 series lead and pushed the Hurricanes to the brink of elimination. Alex Ovechkin added a goal and two assists.  

Backstrom’s last four-point playoff games was April 17, 2010. He had a hat trick that night and scored the game-winning goal in overtime. 

“That was probably Montreal, right?” Backstrom said before confessing. “Yeah, Ovi told me. He remembers everything.”

Those were darker days. The Capitals blew a 3-1 series lead against Montreal that year and maybe the best team of the Ovechkin era went out in the first round despite winning the Presidents’ Trophy. No wonder Backstrom needed help remembering. 

There is no such issue this season. The 31-year-old Swede is carrying the Capitals, who are one game away from advancing. It was his second two-goal game of the series. He has five total, which matches his career high for one playoff series set in 2010 against the Canadiens. He and Ovechkin, who has seven points in the series (three goals, four assists) set a tone and their teammates followed. 

"In all areas, too,” goalie Braden Holtby said. “Obviously they got on the point sheet, but their play away from the puck, on the forecheck, supporting each other, they're real tough to play against when they play like that and I thought they've been doing a great job all playoffs, too.”

Backstrom’s five goals matched what he had all last postseason when the Caps won the Cup. He missed games because of a broken finger, but still played in 20 and had five goals and 18 assists. He matched his total output of eight points in 2009 against Pittsburgh and 2018 against Columbus. His career best is again that Montreal series when he had nine points. Not that he cares about that now. None of the Caps do. If the production leads to wins and advancing to the second round, that’s all that matters.  

“It’s good for the confidence I think. But it’s going to be a different game in Carolina,” Backstrom said. “We’ve just got to regroup here and move forward. That was just a 3-2 lead. Toughest one is the last one. We haven’t been happy with the way we’ve played in Carolina so far. Let’s change that.”

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Braden Holtby’s new franchise record overshadowed by blowout win and he’s just fine with that

Braden Holtby’s new franchise record overshadowed by blowout win and he’s just fine with that

WASHINGTON – On a night in which the Capitals erupted for six goals against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, goalie Braden Holtby’s contributions were largely overshadowed. Nicklas Backstrom scored his fourth and fifth goals of the playoffs in a four-point night while Alex Ovechkin added a goal and three points of his own. Even Nic Dowd got into the mix as he scored Washington’s first penalty shot goal in playoff history.

When a team wins a game 6-0, it is easy to discount the contribution of the goalie and assume the offense carried the team. That was not the case on Saturday as Holtby played a pivotal role in Washington taking back control of its first-round series.

And he set a franchise record doing it.

With 30 saves, Holtby recorded his seventh career playoff shutout passing Olie Kolzig’s previous franchise record of six. Holtby now stands alone with the most postseason shutouts in team history.

But you won’t see him celebrating too hard.

“It means I’m getting old,” Holtby said.

Holtby may be the only goalie in the world who does not seem to care about shutouts. He has been consistent on this point throughout his career, always saying that shutouts only matter because it means he helped put the team in a position to win.

When it comes to individual accolades, however, Holtby is just not interested.

When asked what holding Carolina scoreless on Saturday did for his confidence, Holtby was blunt.

"Nothing,” he said. “It's a win. We regroup, we know they're going to come harder next game and we'll focus on that."

As focused as Holtby seemed to be after the game, was just as focused in it on Saturday as he turned in his best performance of the series. Despite the final score, the game was close halfway through with Washington clinging to a one-goal lead. Holtby was brilliant between the pipes, however, especially in the second period as Washington faced three straight power plays. He turned aside 15 shots in the middle frame alone to help the Caps keep their lead and eventually run away with the win.

“Our goaltender was tremendous,” Todd Reirden said. “Those things, if you can have the special teams and your goaltender at that type of a level then you're going to give yourself a real good chance to have success.”

The offense stole the headlines after Saturday’s win, but that’s a result the Caps do not get without Holtby’s record-setting performance in net.

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