New York Knicks’ fans are used to seeing players put up historic performances in Madison Square Garden, but those performances often come from a player on the visiting team.
Carmelo Anthony changed that trend on Friday night with a game for the ages, as the Knicks snapped their five game losing streak against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Anthony scored 62 points on 23-for-35 from the field in 39 minutes. Anthony was 10 of 10 from the free throw line and pulled down 13 rebounds.
The usual laid back Anthony had a different demeanor coming into the game. “Guys were asking me if something was wrong. Wasn’t anything wrong, I was just locked in,” Anthony said.
“I saw that look in his eye. Eye of the tiger. Eye of a lion,” point guard Raymond Felton said after the game.
Anthony scored 20 points in the first quarter and finished the half with 37 points, including a buzzer beater from halfcourt. “When I made the shot at half, I told myself the zone was there,” Anthony said.
Anthony continued his scoring clinic in the second half and took a 56 point total into the fourth quarter, with the Knicks leading 101-66. He was six points away from a Madison Square Garden record — Kobe Bryant scored 61 points at MSG in 2009 — and five points away from Bernard King’s franchise record of 60 points.
Anthony wasted no time making sure history would be made. Sitting on 60 points, Anthony spun baseline out of a double team and banked in a shot off the glass with 7:23 remaining to record his 61st and 62nd points of the night.
Coach Mike Woodson then pulled Anthony from the game so he could be serenaded by the home crowd. Anthony was congratulated by his teammates and received a standing ovation.
Anthony’s performance energized the entire team. “That’s what I was more excited to see,” Anthony said. Guys on the bench smiling, high-fiving, having fun once again. That’s the only thing I care about.”
Before the game, the Knicks watched an inspirational video which featured Muhammad Ali. All the players were inspired by the video and their play showed it.
No one was more inspired than Anthony who, on this night, could be called “The Greatest”.