Carmelo homecoming wrecked by dominant Knicks victory

Carmelo Anthony couldn’t have everything.

The ex-Knick got a rousing welcome during player introductions that included a stirring video montage, then the night went downhill from there, crashing and burning. Anthony would find himself in a familiar spot — a loser at the Garden.

Booed almost every time he touched the ball, Anthony started fast then faded horribly, shut out in the second half and finishing with 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting as the Knicks took out the Thunder, to move to 16-13.

Anthony missed his last eight shots and was badly outplayed by, ironically, “the lefty Melo’’ — as Michael Beasley dubbed himself in preseason.

Anthony had played 48 minutes the night before in a three-overtime game in Philadelphia. When he was replaced with 1.4 seconds left, Anthony was roundly booed.

Beasley, signed partly to replace Anthony’s firepower, struck for a season-high 30 points in by far his best game as a Knick, making 11 of 18 shots.

The Knicks won despite not having their top two scorers — Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. Porzingis was ruled out a half-hour before the game because of his knee injury.

It was Anthony’s first game at the Garden as an opponent since December 2010 with the Nuggets, when he was outplayed by Danilo Gallinari in a loss.

Courtney Lee scored 20 points as six Knicks hit for double figures. Doug McDermott, picked up in the Melo deal, scored 13 points, as he went off in the second half.

Before the game Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek diplomatically said the Knicks could have had the same success had he stayed. He visited Anthony in August at his Manhattan gym twice to watch his celebrated pickup games and explained to him the new, non-triangle offense in case he was back.

“He’s one of the best scorers in this league,” Hornacek said.

With Anthony on the pine, the Knicks built a 10-point lead early in the fourth. Baker found McDermott for a 20-footer, then Kyle O’Quinn grabbed a tough offensive rebound and laid it in with 9:03 left to make it 87-77.

The lead ballooned to 13 with 6:02 left when Beasley faked a shot and slid a pass to the open McDermott, who drilled another 3.

To help deaden any early negative reaction, the Knicks played a video montage on the scoreboard before Anthony was introduced — ending with the message: “Thank You 7 Melo”. The tribute noted him as the club’s seventh all-time leading scorer and showed a highlight of his 62-point game.

When his name was called out, the loud cheers overshadowed the smattering of jeers. Some fans stood up and applauded.

When he drained his first shot attempt 48 seconds in — a 3-pointer — a strong cheer rose up from the crowd.

Anthony got his first hook seven minutes into the game. By then, he had scored seven of OKC’s first 16 points.

Anthony cooled off a bit, his shot growing flatter. He finished with 12 points in the half, but on 5-of-13 shooting as the Knicks grabbed a 50-44 lead at intermission.

Beasley, however, outpaced Anthony and even blocked one of his driving attempts.

A key to the Knicks staying afloat during Tim Hardaway Jr.’s absence, Beasley was reliable and on target again on offense. The Knicks also got another off-the-bench boost from the emerging Ron Baker, who scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Anthony affectionately called him “Ron Burgundy” last season.

OKC shot just 37.8 percent in the first half, perhaps a result of weary legs from the second night of a back-to back.

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/12/16/carmelo-homecoming-wrecked-by-dominant-knicks-victory/

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