Saturday night was a big one at Madison Square Garden with Carmelo Anthony returning to face the New York Knicks as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s the second reunion on this road trip for the Thunder, as Paul George returned to Indianapolis on Wednesday.
How would ‘Melo be received by Knicks fans? Would he be booed or cheered? And how would the team acknowledge his return to New York? Would the Knicks encourage booing their former star or would they thank him for the seven seasons he played in their uniform?
In what might be viewed as a surprising development, the Knicks paid tribute to Anthony with a video during pregame introductions. And when the Thunder starting lineup was introduced, ‘Melo was cheered by the MSG crowd (at least from the majority of fans).
Take a look at the pregame video:
The Knicks welcomed back Melo with a video tribute and the Garden showed love pic.twitter.com/iZYFoywQUY
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 17, 2017
That was a nice gesture by the Knicks. And some fans even gave ‘Melo a standing ovation, which he deserved. Even though Anthony’s tenure with the team didn’t end as both sides hoped, he parted ways with the Knicks on civil terms.
Seven years is a long time with a franchise and though Anthony’s style of play may not have always been the best fit with the Knicks’ offense (especially depending on who was coaching the team), he averaged 24.7 points per game during his career in New York. Blame Phil Jackson for not building a proper team around him or trading Anthony away before the Knicks completely fell apart.
Best of all, Anthony put his own touch on his return to New York, opening the Thunder’s scoring with a three-pointer.
At halftime, the Thunder lead the Knicks, xx-xx. Anthony has 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range.