Carmelo Anthony made his much-awaited return to Madison Square Garden as his Oklahoma City Thunder were beaten by the New York Knicks on Saturday.
The high-scoring forward, who spent seven seasons in a Knicks uniform, endured almost constant turmoil last year, and the team traded Anthony to the Thunder in the offseason.
In his return, there were some boos, but far more cheers, as he took the court. The Knicks honoured their former All-Star with a minute-long tribute video showing not just his highlights as a player, but also his work in the community.
Then just when you thought the situation could not get any more heartwarming, Anthony drained a three on the Thunder's first possession.
After that, it was down to business, and the Knicks had too much for the Thunder, winning 111-96.
Anthony hit only five of 18 shots for 12 points. He had five rebounds and three turnovers.
Afterward, Anthony said the video tribute surprised him, but the boos did not.
"The video caught me by surprise. I wasn't expecting it," Anthony said. "I was waiting for my name to be called and accept what was going to happen. I'd like to thank the organisation for making that gesture. That was big time. That goes a long way for myself."
The Rockets won their 13th straight game, defeating the tough Bucks, 115-111, thanks to the late heroics of Chris Paul. The guard scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half. In the process, he made history – the Elias Sports Bureau reports he is the first NBA player to win his first 14 games with a new team.
LeBron James scored 29 points and added 11 boards and 10 assists in the Cavs' 109-100 win against Utah, and while triple-doubles are not unusual for the star, this one was special. He now has 60 in his career, passing Larry Bird for sixth on the NBA's career list.
Hornets guard Kemba Walker missed all nine shots he took from behind the arc, and shot only seven of 26 from the field for 14 points in a 93-91 loss to the Trail Blazers.
Few players in the NBA attack the rim on a dunk like Russell Westbrook.
Portland Trail Blazers 93-91 Charlotte Hornets
Cleveland Cavaliers 109-100 Utah Jazz
New York Knicks 111-96 Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets 115-111 Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat 90-85 Los Angeles Clippers
Phoenix Suns 108-106 Minnesota Timberwolves
San Antonio Spurs 98-96 Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics 102-93 Memphis Grizzlies
CAVALIERS AT WIZARDS
You could almost see this matchup happening at some point in the play-offs next spring. The Cavaliers have gone way past their rocky start to win four straight and 17 of 18 games. John Wall is back in the Wizards' lineup after missing nine games with a knee injury, but he has been off in his first two games back (11 of 31 from the field, 28 total points).
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