Though he felt the love, Carmelo Anthony’s stellar return to Madison Square Garden came up short

Carmelo Anthony was welcomed back into Madison Square Garden with open arms on Wednesday night.

It just wasn’t enough to lead him to a win.

Anthony and the Portland Trail Blazers fell 117-93 to the New York Knicks on Wednesday night in just his second trip back to the iconic arena since his time with the Knicks. 

He received a massive standing ovation when he was announced, too, something that stuck with him after the loss.

“The love was definitely felt tonight, from the fans that was here, from just the city as a whole,” Anthony said, via SNY. “Just being back, I think that feeling is kind of hard to explain. But for me to kind of get that ovation, I think I’ve always had the love from the city like that, but to be back in this building where I spent so many years, that love felt extremely good tonight.” 

Anthony, who spent seven seasons in New York from 2010-2017, shined on Wednesday, too. The 35-year-old scored a team-high 26 points and had seven rebounds while shooting 11-of-17 from the field. His 26 points marked a season-high for the veteran, who joined the Blazers in November after sitting in limbo for months following a failed stint in Houston last season.

The Knicks, though, weren’t phased by his impressive outing. After bouncing back and forth through three quarters, New York took off in the final period. The Knicks quickly pushed out to a massive 29-point lead en route to the 24-point win — their third straight. 

Though he has said he wants his jersey retired at the Pepsi Center, where he got his career started with the Denver Nuggets, Anthony did admit that he was looking up into the rafters at Madison Square Garden during the national anthem. His time with the Knicks was a major part of his career, after all, and he did lead them to their only playoff series win of the last decade while climbing to No. 7 on their all-time scoring list.

Regardless of where his jersey eventually hangs, or where he wraps up his stellar basketball career, Anthony knows his time in New York has shaped who he is today — both on and off the court.

“I enjoyed [my time as a Knick],” Anthony said, via SNY. “I will say that for the most part I’ve grown. I think being in this city makes you a specific type of person, not a basketball player, a specific type of person. And for me to embrace that and want that and take that challenge on, I think that’s why I got the love that I got tonight and will continue to get from this city.”

Though he dropped 26 points on Wednesday night, Carmelo Anthony and the Trail Blazers came up short at Madison Square Garden. (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

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