Carmelo Anthony ready for MSG return, calls NY 'home'

Sunday, 17 Dec, 2017

After visiting the Knicks, Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder will return home to host the Denver Nuggets (Monday), Utah Jazz (Wednesday) and Atlanta Hawks (Friday) before starting a new road trip. It's his first return to the city that raised him, welcomed him back home, then saw its then-front office kick him out the door he never asked to walk through. After all, it's not like he asked out of NY, like his teammate Paul George did while with the Indiana Pacers.

Carmelo Anthony spent 6 ½ long seasons with the Knicks, some worse than others.

Anthony, like Patrick Ewing before him, failed to win a title, yet Ewing is beloved in NY and the affection for Anthony is likely to be positive as well.

But it sure looks like it was the best thing for him and the Knicks.

"Everybody's super-motivated to come play at the Garden", Thomas said. Even when it was hard.

If New York is going to defeat Oklahoma City, it will need all hands on deck. The city's biggest basketball scapegoat will feel the same unwarranted animosity on Saturday that he grew to accept in his final seasons in NYC, after unapologetically being himself both on and off the court.

Porzingis has assumed the role of go-to scorer and playmaker for NY and has responded with 25.5 points per game.

Not many athletes are willing to play in NY and deal with the enormous media demands, and in terms of the Knicks, also cope with decades of mixed results at best. Those are my roots, the people there. The people there, I become one of them.

But the current star of the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis, thinks he should instead be met with love.

"It's not like I was there for a year or two seasons", he said. Now that he's gone, the culture and style of play has effectively changed for the better. But in Porzingis and rookie Frank Ntilikina, the Knicks' better days are definitively ahead of them.

The blockbuster trade paired Anthony with 2016 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and NBA All Star Paul George.

Knicks fans may just be happy enough with the haul they got back from the Thunder (14-14) to harbor any ill will. McDermott has been a valuable bench player for NY, and Kanter has been downright terrific, averaging 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds with 12 double-doubles on the year.

It was an odd game for Anthony, who was having a sensational shooting night until midway through the third quarter, when he stopped getting the ball.

Factor in the OKC Thunder arrive in NY following a triple overtime game in Philly which will have the entire roster rather worn out tonight.