There has been a ton of talk over the past 48 hours that the NBA is becoming too top heavy, that all the stars are wanting to join together in such a fashion that may end up destroying the league, and there may be some truth to it. But truth or not, you can’t deny the excitement and energy that was rocking in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night when Carmelo Anthony made his Knicks debut.
There was an electricity in the air that hasn’t been felt in New York in what seems like decades as fans were screaming their new-found love for both Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. That love and bountiful enthusiasm was rewarded by a superior effort from both men that brought home a 114-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Billups had 21 points and 8 assists in the win while Anthony put up 27 points and 10 boards, including hitting a pair of clutch buckets down the stretch to seal the game for New York.
"This was ordinary for him, and that’s the highest compliment of what he does. You drop him in any place, any playground, any place in the world and he’ll put up 27 points and 10 rebounds," Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. "That’s what he does for a living."
Anthony wasn’t perfect in his debut, he only made 10 of 25 shots, but he brought it when it mattered most, scoring 11 in the deciding fourth quarter and taking control of the team after Amare Stoudemire fouled out late in the fourth. Carmelo’s 27 in his Knicks debut matched the third-highest scoring game since 1964, just two points shy of Keith Van Horn’s 29 on Oct. 29, 2003.
"I’m just glad I got this game out of my system," Anthony said.
While the teams lack of experience with each other was evident, no one can deny that the potential of this Knicks squad is through the roof and while they may be a role player or two away from a championship, they are far closer with Melo than without.
"I think New York needed a moment like this. When they got Amare, it brought some excitement back to the city," Anthony said. "Now, as Amare said, New York basketball is back. Will we win a championship this year? Who knows? That takes time. But this team is headed in the right direction. … It’s a dream come true for me, and I’m ready to rock."