Making his first appearance at Madison Square Garden since being traded by the Knicks in September, Anthony finished with 12 points, all of which came in the first half, on 5-of-18 shooting. He spent seven seasons as the face of New York basketball, enduring the many ups and downs that come along with that title.
The big question leading up to this game was how New York fans would greet Anthony during pregame introductions.
It was answered with a resounding ovation:
The @nyknicks welcome back Carmelo Anthony to MSG! https://t.co/QvPfSdxIgn2017-12-17 00:47:12
Even though things didn't end well between Anthony and the Knicks, both sides benefited from their partnership. They made three playoff appearances from 2011-13, and their first-round win over the Boston Celtics in 2013 was their first postseason series win in 13 years.
Prior to the game, Anthony spoke about having fond memories of playing in New York:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Carmelo is happy to be back. https://t.co/3muEY3dBfN2017-12-16 22:23:28
Some rough patches for the franchise rarely prevented Anthony from doing what he does best, especially when he was playing at Madison Square Garden:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Carmelo Anthony is back in the Garden as a visiting player for the first time since the Knicks traded him this offseason. Anthony has scored 5,644 points in 221 games at the Garden, 4th-most for any player in venue history, behind Ewing, Frazier and Houston (via @EliasSports). https://t.co/GPF6Wt38Gy2017-12-17 00:26:00
After everyone got a moment of bliss, the Knicks worked to ensure it wasn't a happy return for Anthony. Madison Square Garden has been particularly kind to them this season with 14 of their 16 wins coming at home.
A knee injury kept Kristaps Porzingis on the sidelines for New York, opening the door for another excellent performance from Michael Beasley. The 28-year-old tied his season best with a game-high 30 points.
SiriusXM's Justin Termine shared this bit of information about the top of the 2008 NBA draft that illustrates how things have changed over the years:
Justin Termine @TermineRadio
Michael Beasley & Derrick Rose were both drafted in 2008.. Who would've thought 9yrs later Beasley would be the far more serviceable player.2017-12-17 02:26:37
Actor Michael Rapaport, an avid Knicks fan, offered this assessment of Beasley's sudden importance to the team:
If Mike Beasley could be this engaged every game the KNICKS would make the playoff this season2017-12-17 02:22:33
Beasley was just one of many bright spots for the Knicks in their win. Six players, including four starters, scored at least 10 points. Doug McDermott (13 points) was lights out off the bench, making three of his five attempts from three-point range.
The Knicks' win improves their record to 16-13, making it the second time this season they have been three games over .500. The last time they reached that mark on Nov. 22, they proceeded to lose their next three games.
While things are going well for the Knicks, Oklahoma City continues to look like a disorganized mess. The Big Three experiment with Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George has the Thunder one game under .500 (14-15) through 29 games.
Westbrook led the Thunder with 25 points and shot 50 percent or better from the field for just the sixth time this season. George appears to be discovering his shooting touch from three-point range, making nine of his last 18 attempts over the past two games.
The Thunder were coming off a triple-overtime win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, so fatigue could have played a role in this performance. But there's an overall lack of consistency that has haunted the team all year.