Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony returned from a two-game hiatus due to injuries and gave the Knicks just what they needed in a game he called a “must win.”
Anthony scored a game-high 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting and dished six assists as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak by smacking the downtrodden Detroit Pistons, 113-86, at MSG.
“My legs felt great out there tonight,” Anthony said. “I felt refreshed, just taking these five, six days off that I did. It really helped me out big-time. I could feel me having my explosiveness back.”
Anthony sat out the last two games, losses at the Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets, due to a combination of ankle, wrist and thumb injuries, and only decided to play this one at game-time.
“I had a workout [Tuesday] morning,” he said. “I had a workout before the game, and then I did some explosive stuff just to see how it felt. It felt pretty good…Once I was out there running in the layup line and the warmups, my legs felt refreshed and my body felt good, so I just decided to go out there and give it a chance.”
He went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and 5-for-5 from the stripe.
“It’s a huge difference,” said Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who scored 17 points. “He’s one of the best players in the world. He demands so much respect, you can’t play off of him. He’s such a great passer. When he gets in a rhythm, he’s practically unstoppable. He’s a good passer so it was definitely great to have him back tonight.”
Landry Fields also played well for the Knicks, scoring 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc.
“He made some shots tonight,” Anthony said. “He took the open shots. He was aggressive attacking the basket, and we need that from him. When he’s playing like that, it opens it up for everybody else.”
Anthony injured his ankle and his wrist against Memphis Jan. 12.
The Knicks were 6-4 before that game and were 1-9 in their last 10 since entering the Nuggets contest.
“A lot of things that I was doing prior to the Memphis game, it came back tonight,” Anthony said. “I got my pop back tonight. I felt pretty good for the most part.”
The Knicks have three games in three days beginning with Thursday’s tilt against the Chicago Bulls. They are in the midst of playing five games in seven days.
Asked if he could play three games in three nights, Anthony said, “I don’t know. I just came back, I don’t know. That’s something that we have to talk about, but we’ll see. We’ll see what happens.
“I feel good right now. Tomorrow might be another story, but as of right now talking to you guys I feel great.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.