Regardless of how you feel about the trade, or the man himself, there's no denying Carmelo Anthony made New York relevant again. Here's a look back on five of his greatest games as a Knick.
1. In an epic duel against Kevin Durant, Melo clinches the 2013 scoring title
In the tail end of the 2012-13 season, the NBA scoring title was being chased by two hyper-versatile small forwards in Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, both of which were having career years. Durant was shooting a ridiculously efficient percentage, chasing another visit to the 50-40-90 club, while Anthony would go on to have the deepest playoff run he would experience as a Knick. This tit-for-tat battle between the two would end up giving Melo the slightest of edges over Durant (KD only had 0.2 ppg less than Anthony), leading to Melo ending Durant's 4-year scoring title streak.
2. Melo puts the team on his shoulders in his first playoff series as a Knick
A common criticism thrown at the Knicks during Anthony's tenure (particularly in his first year after New York gave up a bunch of assets to snare him from Denver) was that they often fielded starting fives featuring Melo and four warm bodies. This was no truer than in Anthony's first playoff series as Knick when they faced the Celtics: Toney Douglas was the second leading scorer (14 points on 5-16 shooting), Henry Walker played 32 goddamn minutes (0-11, 2 points scored), and Amare Stoudemire only played in the first half, putting up 4 points and 5 rebounds. Melo responded with an inhuman effort, leading the Knicks in points, rebounds and assists, all whilst only recording one turnover.
3. Hangs 50 points on the Miami Heat solely on jump shots
Knock Melo's incessant jab-stepping and ugly, ball-stopping iso plays all you want, but there's no denying the man has one of (if not, the) most aesthetically-pleasing jump shots in the NBA. It's just so smooth and buttery, like a visual representation of a Dilla beat. Watching this lights-out performance by Anthony against the James-Wade-Bosh Heat, in which he shoots a blistering 69% FG on one of the league's best defenses, should be on the same tier as appreciating art from the Renaissance period. I'm sure if you superimposed a Fibonacci spiral on any point in this video where Melo has the ball, it would line up perfectly.
4. In an Easter game against the Bulls, Melo puts up 43 points + game-winning three in OT
Melo's had games where he's scored more points, but it's the context of this game that gives a bit more gravitas to Anthony's individual performance. In a lockout-shortened season, the Knicks were hovering around .500, desperately chasing wins to ensure a playoff berth. This game during the Easter long weekend against Chicago was extremely back and forth; Derrick Rose had just returned to the Bulls lineup, and despite having a rusty performance himself (8-26 FG), he energized the Bulls squad enough to take this game to overtime. Melo and the Knicks would eventually prevail, with Anthony scoring the game-winning bucket on a deep, deep three, securing a playoff seed for New York in the process.
5. Melo scores a career-high 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats
In my opinion, this is the definitive Carmelo Anthony game. Just raining pure hell on the Bobcats with a combination of post-ups, jab-stepping iso plays and catch-and-shoot 3's. It's worth noting that Charlotte wasn't the best team in the Eastern Conference (putting it mildly), but they did have a lengthy premier defender at small forward in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. It didn't matter. Melo finessed his way to 62 points, an effort that has yet to be equaled by him, and if he didn't sit out the last 7 minutes of the game, probably could've gone for 70. I'll certainly miss this scoring machine who made it look so easy, treat him right, Oklahoma.