Carmelo Anthony claims he doesn't pay attention to all that's said about him in the public forum. The thing is, his people do and they told him over the summer that Jared Dudley called him the most overrated player in the NBA.
Anthony and Dudley met Saturday night as the Knicks visited Chinatown. Fueled by that knowledge plus a hot hand from the field, Anthony cooked Dudley and the Wizards.
The All-Star forward scored 37 points in the 117-110 win Saturday night. That included 11 in the final quarter with Dudley not only on the court but often on Anthony defensively.
Asked postgame if he knew of Dudley's comments, Anthony said, "It got back to me. It definitely got back to me. I might not look at and read all that stuff. It gets back to me."
During a radio interview in May, Dudley, then a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, was asked who thought was the most overrated player in the league.
“I would say Carmelo [Anthony] … Carmelo is viewed as a top-five player … He has the talent to be able to facilitate … He’s gotta get out of the first, second rounds — he’s gotta get his teams to the playoffs. LeBron [James], with that [Knicks] roster, LeBron would’ve gotten them to the playoffs. They would’ve been at least an eight-seed.”
Tension between Anthony and Dudley started early Saturday. They chirped at each other in the second quarter, simultaneously picking up technical fouls. "Just basketball," said a smiling Anthony postgame about what words were exchanged.
New York fans were certainly all smiles with what the Knicks leading man did throughout the first of four meetings between the two teams this season.
After missing his first two shot attempts, Anthony sank eight straight. Despite missing 11 of 12 3-pointers over his first two games, he drained four of five against the Wizards. Overall, Anthony made 11 of 18 shots from the field including a tie-breaking long jumper with 1:35 remaining to put the Knicks ahead for good.
The defender on the play, Jared Dudley.
Anthony said in the moment, those previous words weren't on his mind over the final minutes. Heading into the game, that's a different story.
"It becomes competitive at that point and shows what you're made of," Anthony said. "Tonight was one of those nights. It had nothing to really do with him, but this was a game that I circled on my calendar. I'll see him three more times."
Later on that May day, Dudley clarified the overrated talk on Twitter. He also apologized during another ESPN radio interview. "I shouldn't have said that, that was my fault for saying that because it's not the truth," he said.
No word if Anthony's people relayed that message to their guy. The reality is by that point, it wouldn't have mattered.