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Former Knick Carmelo Anthony reacts to returning to MSG, getting cheers

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Carmelo Anthony has made a few trips back to Madison Square Garden since being traded by the New York Knicks in 2017, but their New Year’s Day tussle as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers is treated as a special occasion that trumps even his first game back ever.

After the game, the 35-year-old was asked about the reception he received — from the loud ovation during his introduction to getting ‘We want Melo’ chants — and how it hit him, per SNY TV.

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

Carmelo Anthony finished the night with a season-high 26 points on probably one of the more efficient outings in his career as he shot the ball at a blistering 64.7-percent (as well as 60-percent from behind the arc), turned the ball over only once, and added seven boards. Of course, the 6-foot-8 swingman would have traded all of that away for the victory as the Blazers were blown out in a match that wasn’t close.

Still, it’s a bittersweet moment for the former Knicks mainstay as just a few months ago no one knew if he would ever return to The Association as almost every team has passed on giving him a chance except for the injury-plagued Blazers squad.

Anthony now hopes that this reception could lead to bigger things such as possibly getting his jersey retired, but that’s likely a conversation in the distant future that starts once he finally hangs it for good.