NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Sunday, November 1, 2015, 1:43 AM
WASHINGTON — At shootaround Saturday morning, well before the Knicks took the floor against the Wizards at Verizon Center and secured a 117-110 win, Carmelo Anthony said his jump shot still didn’t feel right.
Yes, he’s well over half a year removed from knee surgery. And no, it had nothing to do with any lingering pain. But Anthony didn’t have the power and lift on the most lethal weapon in his arsenal. It showed in the first two games of the season, when he made just 14 of his 43 shot attempts and one of his 12 threes. And on this Halloween morning, the star forward’s only suggested remedy was more time. He even went as far as to say he would need a “couple more weeks” to fully regain his rhythm.
Around nine hours later, though, Anthony buried a shot from downtown with just more than five minutes remaining in the first quarter, quieting the D.C. crowd. He wouldn’t miss again until the second half. Anthony hit eight shots in a row during the stretch and finished with 37 in the game on 11 of 18 shooting, carrying the Knicks to a win as he’s done so many times in his career.
For the first time this season, Carmelo Anthony looked like, well, Carmelo Anthony.
Pull-up threes from the corner with two men closing in. Turnaround jumpers from the high post. Rhythm long balls from the wing. Melo was back in his most efficient form.
Carmelo Anthony scores 37 points on 11 for 18 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range to lead the Knicks to a win in Washington.
“It’s been a while for me since I kind of had this experience,” Anthony said. “It felt good out there.”
Anthony had 10 at the end of the first quarter, eight of them coming on one of his trademark scoring barrages in just more than a minute of game time — three, fade-away jumper, three, in consecutive possessions.
He then hit all three of his shots in the second quarter, went into halftime with 18 points and banged home back-to-back threes to start the second half. He started the game 8 of 10 from the field and 4 of 5 from downtown.
Anthony earns some extra points at the free throw line, where he is 11 of 12.
“I thought they brought the best out of Melo. The level of competition,” Derek Fisher said. “He was really good. There was a composure and a poise to everything that he did. He got the shots that he wanted when he wanted ’em. And he also made plays to make other people better.”
Anthony only took a seat on the bench after drilling two free throws to knot the score at 75 with 4:24 left in the third quarter. Then the Knicks’ athletic second unit came in and kept the team in the game.
A Bradley Beal buzzer-beating three to end the third quarter gave the Wiz a three-point lead entering the final period. But the Knicks clawed their way back into the game, and after Anthony returned with 8:15 remaining, they took the lead on a Jerian Grant corner three.
Anthony hit a free throw and buried a mid-range jumper to extend the advantage to three points. Beal — who finished with 26 points to lead the Wizards — again had the answer, though, evening the score at 97 with his third three of the game at the six-minute mark.
The teams continued to trade blows in the final five minutes. Anthony eclipsed the 30-point mark with a mid-range jump shot. John Wall hit a straightaway three to put the Wizards up one. Then Langston Galloway — who led the Knicks bench with 14 points — answered with a corner three to put the Knicks up two with under four to play.
Rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis scores eight points and gets six boards.
“You need guys to make plays,” Fisher said, “and be confident in themselves that they can do so.”
But it was Anthony who put the Knicks ahead for good. With the shot clock running down and less than two minutes remaining in a tie game, he took the inbound pass, dribbled to his left and connected on a contested two-point jumper over the outstretched arms of Jared Dudley — the same guy who called
Melo the most overrated player in the league in May.
It was that kind of night.
“Happy Halloween,” Anthony said.