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Carmelo Anthony: Love from Knicks Fans in MSG Return 'Felt Extremely Good'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 2, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 1: Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts to a play against the New York Knicks on January 1, 2020 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony received a loud ovation from New York Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday upon his return to the arena where he played from 2011-17. 

Knicks Videos @sny_knicks

Carmelo Anthony gets a big welcome from the MSG crowd 👏 https://t.co/8Y2opt2LNl

In addition to their warm welcome during introductions, the fans also chanted "We want Melo!" during the game:

NBA TV @NBATV

MSG crowd chanting “We want Melo!” 🗣 https://t.co/GzRyqWSK9n

Anthony told reporters postgame he appreciated the fans' reaction: 

Knicks Videos @sny_knicks

Carmelo Anthony says it was special to be back in New York and to get a loud ovation from Knicks fans: "The love was definitely felt tonight" https://t.co/gkUDNmCbAs

This was Anthony's second time playing at MSG since departing the Knicks, as he visited New York with the Oklahoma City Thunder in Dec. 2017.

The fans' reaction was a proper recognition of a player who was as a prolific scorer in a Knicks uniform. Tommy Beer of NBC/Rotoworld provided some stats reflecting that fact:

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer

30-point games by a Knick this decade: Carmelo Anthony: 108 Amar’e Stoudemire: 23 Kristaps Porzingis: 14 JR Smith: 11 40-point games by a Knick this decade: Carmelo Anthony: 18 All other Knicks COMBINED: 5

Anthony averaged 24.7 points per game over seven seasons in New York.

The Knicks only made the playoffs three times (winning one series) with Anthony as their leader, but he guided the 2012-13 team to a 54-28 mark, which stands as the team's best single-season record since 1996-97.

As for the game, the Knicks triumphed 117-93 behind 22 points each from Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. Anthony led all scorers with 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting and seven boards.

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