If he forgot for a moment that he was one of the biggest stars on the Knicks, and looked at things from the perspective of a kid from Brooklyn (which he once was), Carmelo Anthony could appreciate the atmosphere inside the Barclays Center on Monday night.
"Unbelievable. To step back from this and take my Knicks uniform off ... just to see that and be a part of that atmosphere is nothing like it," he said.
Unfortunately for Anthony, he also had to consider the reality of what actually happened on the court. The Nets took Round 1 of the East River Rivalry in excruciating fashion from Anthony's Knicks, topping New York in overtime on a night the club lost two starters to injury.
Anthony's fingerprints were all over the game -- on both sides of the ledger. He poured in a game-high 35 points, but missed 14 of his 25 attempts from the floor, and was held without a field goal for the final eight minutes.
He missed his last five attempts, and one of them was ultimately a back-breaker.
Anthony had the shot that he wanted with five seconds to play in regulation, but missed a contested jumper from 16 feet out that likely would have given the Knicks (9-4) a win.
"I wanted it," Anthony said. "I told them we wasn’t going nowhere else but to me on that last shot. I got the look I wanted. I missed it. I take them shots every day, work on them shots every day. I’ll take that shot every chance I get."
From there, the Knicks starters seemed to run out of energy. "They controlled the tempo, they made shots," said Anthony, who played 50 of a possible 53 minutes, and also missed four of his final eight free throws. "In the overtime we kind of fatigued a little bit."
For most of the game, though, Anthony carried the Knicks on offense. Through three quarters, he had 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting. He was aggressive on the boards as well, pulling down 13 -- nine in the fourth quarter alone.
"He was great," Raymond Felton said.
Unfortunately for Anthony, most of his teammates were not. He and Tyson Chandler (28 points, 10 rebounds) produced 70 percent of the Knicks' points, partly due to a lack of ball movement.
With Jason Kidd (lower back spasms) sidelined, Felton was thoroughly outplayed by Deron Williams, who had 16 points and 14 assists, compared to eight points (3-for-19 shooting) and five assists for Felton.
So, it was basically on Anthony to generate offense for the Knicks. And he seemed to revel in that task, soaking in the "Brook-lyn, Brook-lyn" chants from the Barclays Center crowd as if they were directed at him.
"As a Brooklyn guy, it felt good to hear that," he said.
But as a Knick, it had to sting a little bit, too. Especially after the final buzzer.