For the first time since December 2017 and just the second time since the New York Knicks traded him in the 2017 offseason, Carmelo Anthony returned to Madison Square Garden as an opponent.
As he was announced with the other Portland Trail Blazers' starters, the Knicks faithful showed him the love:
Carmelo Anthony receives a warm welcome from the crowd as he's introduced in his return to MSG.- NBA (@NBA) January 2, 2020
📺: @NBATV pic.twitter.com/Ui3JAbKeI9
Sporting a pair Air Jordan XXXIV's, Anthony's second return to the MSG went much better than the first, at least individually.
.@CarmeloAnthony back in the Garden wearing Air Jordan 34s.- SoleCollector.com (@SoleCollector) January 2, 2020
📸: @natlyphoto pic.twitter.com/5EbexFhVY8
In 31 minutes, he finished with a season-high 26 points (11-17 FG's; 3-5 3P) while also finishing with seven rebounds. However, he couldn't stop the Blazers from dropping their fifth straight game, the first of a five-game East heavy road trip.
21 (9-12 FG's) of Anthony's 26 points came in the middle two quarters as he tried to keep the Blazers in the game and through three quarters they were right there. At the start of the fourth, the Blazers only trailed by six (83-77).
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However, the Knicks ran away with the game over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter with an 18-6 run. At the 4:45 mark, Anthony was subbed out of the game but even with the game out of the hand, he received plenty of love from the crowd at MSG with some "We want Melo" chants.
MSG crowd chanting "We want Melo!" 🗣 pic.twitter.com/GzRyqWSK9n- NBA TV (@NBATV) January 2, 2020
Postgame, the crowd continued to show their support for the 10-time All-Star as he swapped jerseys with Marcus Morris Sr.
Melo swaps jerseys with Morris and gets nothing but love from MSG as he exits with 26 PTS in his return 🙏 pic.twitter.com/JEHS7xETnk- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 2, 2020
Anthony holds the record for the most points by a player at the MSG and spent six-and-a-half seasons as a Knick, so the return to the Garden was bound to be special for the future Hall of Famer.
Carmelo Anthony says it was special to be back in New York and to get a loud ovation from Knicks fans:- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) January 2, 2020
"The love was definitely felt tonight" pic.twitter.com/gkUDNmCbAs
Anthony is proving the doubters wrong in his new role with the Blazers, putting up better numbers in certain catergories than other superstars around the league.
Carmelo Anthony this season:- StatMuse (@statmuse) January 2, 2020
- Higher FG% than Paul George
- Higher 3P% than Damian Lillard
- More PPG than Ben Simmons pic.twitter.com/mrEGQRR0dN