Last night, newest Thunder star and longtime New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony made his emotional return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since being shipped to Oklahoma City for Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott. Melo’s return, which was kicked off by a heart-warming tribute to the future Hall of Famer, was spoiled by the home team as the Knicks pulled off a 111-96 victory over Anthony’s OKC Thunder.
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) December 17, 2017
With the Thunder coming off a hard-fought triple-overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night, the players were worn out going to New York the next day, with a 15-point defeat being the result.
Seconds after tip-off, the 10-time All-Star was showered with boos, eventually being silenced when he drained OKC’s first basket of the game. After the hot start in the first half, Anthony was shut out in the second, as he became the second Thunder newcomer to sputter against his former team; the forward’s putrid 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting proceeded teammate Paul George’s 12 on 3-of-14 against Indiana on Wednesday.
Following the loss, Anthony had some words about his time with the Knicks and what his nearly seven-year stint in New York meant to him, per Ian Begley of ESPN:
“Somebody who wanted to be here, came here, did what he had to do night in and night out whether people liked it or not, remained positive through all the negative situations and all the negative times. Somebody who stayed professional throughout my seven years here and somebody who had hopes and dreams of winning the championship here in New York and fell short at that.”
“So that’s something that I will always hold over my head as far as it comes to that. But I will always be kind of part of this culture here. For me it’s different than any other basketball player that comes through here, that played with the Knicks. It’s deeper than basketball when it comes to me and this city.”
Anthony still has plenty of love for his former team and city, but he has moved on – as have the Knicks, who are now sitting in playoff position after a very respectable 16-13 start to the new campaign.