Carmelo Anthony had the highest scoring game ever at Madison Square Garden last night and surpassed Bernard King's 60 for the franchise record of points scored in a game. Once Melo passed King (and Kobe Bryant's MSG record of 61 points) he was removed with over seven minutes remaining because the Knicks were thrashing the Bobcats in a game that went final at 125-96. You might say, "well, they were playing the Bobcats." And you might be right—Charlotte is now 19-26 and holding on to the last playoff spot in a weak conference—but you'd be forgetting that "they" were the Knicks. This was desperately needed.
The Knicks, entering the game at 15-27 and looking up at the playoffs, are all sorts of fucked up. Who knows what's going on with J.R. Smith. Bargs is gone indefinitely. Amar'e Stoudemire is back in street clothes. Worse, these pass as actual concerns for the team. Anthony's performance gave everyone something to cheer about and ended a five-game losing streak, an outcome that was a mere eventuality come halftime.
Said Anthony, after the game: "When I made the shot at the half, I told myself the zone was there." The Knicks were up 21 at the half and Melo had so mesmerized the Garden crowd that they would be chanting "MVP" and "We Want Melo!" by the end of the night.
Melo shot 66 percent on 23-35 from the field and the zone he was talking about was essentially everywhere, except from the right elbow out.
Anthony was also a perfect 10-10 from the free-throw line and even had LeBron James making up hashtags to describe the night. But the most apt description came from beleaguered teammate, J.R. Smith. Usually a wordsmith, he was at a loss for them:
"I've seen him score a lot of points, but that was some performance right there.