For seven years, Carmelo Anthony was the focal point of the New York Knicks. With Melo returning to MSG, a look back at his best moments.
Carmelo Anthony is coming home.
Melo will return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder from the New York Knicks this summer. It will be the first time in eight years that Melo will take the court at the Garden in a non-Knicks uniform.
There are several different viewpoints on Melo’s career as a Knickerbocker. One thing is for sure, he brought New York excitement night in and night out.
Let’s take a look back at Anthony’s top 5 moments as a member of the New York Knicks.
Honorable Mention: Hurricane Sandy Game
I know I said top five, but it ultimately came down to six moments. This one is a game that many may not remember. However, it was a game that sends chills down your spine when you really look back at it.
In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy ripped through New York City and Long Island, destroying thousands of homes and taking hundreds of lives in its path. Many had the life ripped out of them as they tried to recover from this devastation. On Nov. 2, Carmelo eased the pain of New York for at least one night.
Before the game against the Miami Heat began, Melo took the microphone and addressed the crowd. “It’s an important time for the city to come together as one and help build the city back up,” Melo stated. He did not end his relief efforts there.
The 2012-13 Miami Heat were the defending champs and one of the best teams of all time. However, on opening night for the Knicks, that did not matter. The Knicks went on to win the game 104-84 led by 30 points and 10 rebounds from Melo. He had 16 in the first quarter, which sparked the Knicks and set the tone for the rest of the game. Carmelo Anthony even heard “MVP” chants as he was at the free-throw line late in the game. The city needed something to give them hope in a time of sorrow. Carmelo Anthony provided them with just that.
5. Carmelo Anthony’s First Game
Every single Knicks fan will remember where they were when they found out that Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Knicks. The Knicks may have given up too much in the trade as I believe Melo would have signed with the team in free agency. However, it will still go down as one of the best trades in franchise history.
My goodness. The Knicks could not have done that any better. The song, the intro, the extra long “Carmeloooo Anthonyyyy.” It was perfect. The Knicks finally gave Amar’e Stoudemire a much-needed partner in crime. The fans finally had some real hope after years of misery.
Melo’s first game as a Knick was against the Milwaukee Bucks. He recorded 27 points, 10 rebounds and one assist to lead the Knicks to a 114-108 victory. Melo helped the Knicks win seven of their last nine games to propel them into the playoffs, where they got swept by the Boston Celtics. However, it was the Knicks’ first playoff appearance in six years and joy filled the city of New York.
4. 2012 Easter Sunday against the Chicago Bulls
This might have been the loudest that the Garden ever was in Melo’s time in New York. A roller coaster of a game between the Knicks and the Bulls, it was a tight one throughout as the Bulls led by only three heading into the fourth quarter. This game proved to New York that Carmelo Anthony had ice in his veins.
The Knicks were down three with 19.4 seconds left after Derrick Rose missed two huge free throws. It was Melo time. Anthony took on Taj Gibson as if he was not even there. He stepped up and drained a clutch three right in Gibson’s face to force overtime. There is nothing better than hearing Mike Breen yell, “BANG!” as Melo gives his signature “three to the dome”. However, the drama did not end there.
With a little under nine seconds left in overtime, the team and the fans looked to Melo once again. He took the ball, pulled up for a contested three in Luol Deng’s face, and drained it! Melo shouted, “This is my F-in house” as he won the game for the Knicks with two clutch three-pointers. He finished with 43 points in a 100-99 overtime victory over the Bulls.
3. 20,000 Career Points
Carmelo Anthony may not have played his whole career with the Knicks, but he had some damn good seasons with the team. Those years with New York helped Melo join an elite group that, at the time, only 39 other players were apart of. On Nov. 2, 2014, against the Charlotte Bobcats, Melo dropped 28 points to become the 40th player in NBA history to eclipse the 20,000-point career mark.
Currently, 30 players who are included in this elite club are currently in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Ten of the players in the 20,000 point club have yet to become eligible for the Hall of Fame. Melo should eventually be voted into the Hall and surpassing the 20,000-point mark boosts his resume tremendously. When Melo scored point 20,000, he became the sixth-youngest player in NBA history to do so.
The 2014-15 season was one to forget as it was the worst in franchise history. The Knicks compiled a 17-65 record, good for worst in the league. Melo’s accomplishment provided some light in an otherwise horrendous season for Knicks fans.
2. 62-Point Game
On Jan. 24, 2014 against the Charlotte Bobcats – once again – Carmelo Anthony dropped 62 points. That mark broke the Knicks’ franchise single-game scoring record which was previously held by the great Bernard King for 30 years.
Melo not only dropped 62, but he was extremely efficient in doing so. He was 23-for-35 overall from the field, 6-for-11 beyond the arc, and 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. Melo added 13 rebounds to his stat line as well. This was by far Melo’s best game as a Knick in terms of in-game stats.
Carmelo Anthony’s 62-point performance currently stands as the 33rd most points scored in a single game in NBA history. It also stands as the most points scored in a single NBA game in the history of Madison Square Garden. However, it goes deeper than that. Kobe Bryant held the Garden record with 61 points, which stood for five years. Melo took back a record that should be owned by a New York Knick.
1. 2012-13 Season
The 2012-13 NBA season was by far the best of Carmelo Anthony’s career. On the year, Melo averaged 28.7 points per game, his second-highest career average. He recorded that point total on 45 percent shooting overall, 38 percent from beyond the arc, and 83 percent from the free throw line. Melo averaged 6.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game on the season as well.
Carmelo has yet to win an MVP Award, and probably never will, but the 2012-13 NBA season was the closest he came. He finished third in MVP voting behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James. During that season he was named to the NBA All-Star Team and All-NBA Second Team while leading the league in scoring.
That year was historic for the Knicks as well. They finished the season 54-28, which was the eighth-best record in franchise history and the team’s best finish in 16 years. It was also the first time the Knicks had won a playoff series since the 1999-00 season. The Knicks beat the Boston Celtics in six games before losing to the Indiana Pacers in six.
This was by far the best season Carmelo had as a Knick in terms of both personal stats and team success. Melo did not have many great accomplishments as a Knick, but the 2012-13 NBA season was by far his greatest.
So remember this as Melo returns to the Garden tonight. No, he’s no longer donning a Knicks uniform but he still deserves respect for his time in New York.