Hoodies up, Knicks down.
Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points in his first game against his former team and Russell Westbrook added a triple-double as the Oklahoma City Thunder breezed their way to a 105-84 win over the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Anthony, who went full Hoodie Melo in pregame warmups and at times on the bench, knocked down the Thunder's first shot of the game and played with a fervor on both ends of the floor. While he went on a bit of a shooting slump early in the game, he remained an active defender at the 4 spot and eventually got things going on the offensive end.
Melo was making his Thunder debut against his old team after a fraught summer exit from New York. Disillusioned by his treatment by former Knicks president Phil Jackson, Anthony sought a trade, first to the Houston Rockets and then a short list of suitors that eventually led him to OKC.
“I was always, ‘I’m going to put my trust in Phil, I’m going to put my trust in Phil,’” Anthony told reporters Wednesday. “That diminished after a while. I’m out here doing everything I can and I’m still getting stabbed in the back. I’m not trusting in that anymore.”
Anthony said he looked forward to playing his old team because it fully closed the chapter on his time with the Knicks. He played nearly six-and-a-half seasons with the Knicks, making seven All-Star appearances.
“My first couple of years was exciting, was fun. We set out to do some great things. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen," Anthony said Wednesday. "But I won’t let the last two or three years overshadow the amount of fun I had in New York and being in New York.”
Thursday also marked the Thunder debut of Paul George, who came over in an offseason trade with the Indiana Pacers. George finished with a team-high 28 points on 9-of-23 shooting and added six rebounds.
The debut of his new co-stars somewhat overshadowed an expectedly brilliant performance from the reigning MVP. Westbrook finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists for his first triple-double of the 2017-18 season. He finished with a single-season record of 42 triple-doubles last season, a number many expected to diminish with George and Anthony in the fold.
Instead, Westbrook played as close to a "true point guard" game as we've seen him play. He attempted 12 shots to 20 for Anthony and 23 for George, racking up 12 of his 16 assists in the first three quarters. It's his 80th career triple-double.
Steven Adams added 12 points, five rebounds, five steals and three blocks. The Thunder starters were responsible for 89 of their 105 points.
Kristaps Porzingis, as he likely will for much of the season, led all Knicks with 31 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort. Enes Kanter (10 points, seven rebounds) was the only other Knicks player in double figures. Kanter was also playing his first game against his former team after coming over in the Anthony trade.
Doug McDermott, the other main piece in the deal, had four points and four assists off the bench.
The Knicks will make their home debut Saturday night when they host the Detroit Pistons. Oklahoma City travels to Utah to play the Jazz on Saturday.