On Monday February 21st, the New York Knicks took part in a blockbuster trade.
They landed a former all-star and finals MVP in Chauncy Billups, as well as four times all-star and elite scorer, Carmelo Anthony.
Two days later, the two showcased their talents in front of a ruckus Madison Square Garden crowd.
The place was wired with anticipation even before the game had started. The fans were met with a thrilling introduction video that featured a few quotes from “Melo” like “they used to call me little New York”, and “I wanted to be Bernard King”.
When his name was announced after the video montage, the garden shook with excitement.
Easily the most excited I have seen the garden in ten plus years.
Carmelo Anthony was the first player in the starting lineup to be announced.
Chauncey Billups was announced shortly after, and Amare Stoudemire came out last. He walked onto the floor while receiving booming MVP chants.
The game however, did not match the intensity of the pre game insanity.
Carmelo started off shaky missing his first few shots and was noticeably nervous.
Stoudemire struggled from the field early on as well, but the combo managed to hold onto a slim lead after the first period.
While the two stars continued to struggle, the hustle and sharp shooting of Toney Douglas carried the squad.
Chauncey Billups played solidly on both sides of the ball. He knocked down a few threes, and had a SICK drive to the basket that resulted in an and-one.
The Knicks carried a small lead into the half. But the Bucks wouldn’t give up as they fought back to claim a 62-61 lead. This was only their second lead of the game.
Billups and Douglas continued their strong play to reclaim the lead.
The Bucks wouldn’t quit.
Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino were on fire from beyond the arc.
Amare and Carmelo were both in foul trouble and had to sit for most of the third quarter and this was the time the Bucks mounted their comeback.
When Carmelo entered the game in the fourth quarter everyone knew he was going to take over. He did not disappoint.
He hit a clutch three pointer that barely touched the net, as well a fade away jumper that put the ‘Bockers up by six with under two minutes to play. That jumper sealed the deal.
Carmelo Anthony finished with 27 and 10 to lead the Knicks.
Douglas finished with 23, Billups had 21, 6 rebounds and 8 assists.
Amare Stoudemire had a modest 19 points.
Although the Knicks came away with the win, they looked sloppy and out of sync.
But with Billups as the floor general and Melo and Amare being good friends, when the team gets their timing and spacing down, it will be an offense to fear.
As we saw in small patches on Wednesday night, the sky is the limit for this young and exciting team.