Carmelo scored a season-high 26 points, but the Knicks cruised to their third straight victory.
MORE: Sights and Sounds from Carmelo Anthony's return to Madison Square Garden
The support for Carmelo Anthony was evident as the new-look Knicks handed the Trail Blazers their fifth straight loss.
Carmelo Anthony's return to Madison Square Garden had one theme, cheering. Anthony scored 26 points on 11-17 shooting, however, finished the night without a single assist. This may also have been the first NBA game in history where there was no substantive booing. Maybe it was because the Knicks were coming off consecutive victories, but there was no bad blood anywhere in the building.
Anthony warmed up, fans cheered. Anthony was introduced, fans cheered. Anthony scored, the fans - well you get it.
Even when Carmelo checked out of the game with just under six minutes left in the first quarter, the fans cheered when his name was announced. It really was a win-win for the Knicks fans. Either their team did something beneficial or the opposing team did something to complement Carmelo.
MSG crowd chanting "We want Melo!" 🗣 pic.twitter.com/GzRyqWSK9n- NBA TV (@NBATV) January 2, 2020
Cut to the November matchup where Kristaps Porzingis was mercilessly booed every time he, well did anything.
Early in the game a loose ball went to Portland and a fan yelled, to no one in particular, to give "the board to Melo" presumably to pad Anthony's stats. Later in the game, a trivia question appeared that read "what former Knick has his number retired with Portland?" and despite, still being an active player, and only 20 games with the Trail Blazers, fans actually shouted "Melo" towards the center court jumbotron.
The most surreal moment of the game came when Melo shot his first free throw of the game and a handful of fans started chanting "M-V-P." Whilst an MVP might be a stretch, Anthony, a future Hall of Famer, has shown he is a valuable asset to any team in the NBA and that his time away from the game was unwarranted.
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Meanwhile, Mitchell Robinson converted all 11 of his field goal attempts and was a monster around the rim. Robinson's perfect shooting night tied him with Knicks legends Johnny Newman and Bernard King for most field-goal makes without a miss (11).
The Knicks have quickly become a formidable foe for any opponent that enters Manhattan as they are .500 since interim head coach Mike Miller took over.
Anthony and the Trail Blazers remain in the ninth spot in the West and will have to snap out of the recent funk if they hope to play basketball in late April and beyond.
The 35-year-old certainly provides Portland with a scoring boost but he has been unable to spark the Trail Blazers defensive efforts. Wednesday marked the 10th straight game in which the Trail Blazers allowed 100+ points.
The 24-point loss was tied for the worst this season as Portland was outscored by 18 in the fourth quarter. Portland is in the midst of a 5-game road trip and the Knicks begin a four-game West Coast road-trip of their own on Friday.
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