Didn’t see this one coming, but maybe we just saw the result of all this season’s frustrations expunged out in one historic performance at Madison Square Garden. On Friday night Carmelo Anthony set a Madison Square Garden and Knicks single-game record by scoring 62 points in under 39 minutes against a Bobcats team that didn’t start doubling until it was way to late. This was the greatest scoring performance in Knicks franchise history and the greatest scoring moment in Madison Square Garden history.
‘Melo’s special night reached a buzzing crescendo at the end of the first half, when he already had 34. That was then he knocked down a buzzer-beater from mid-court to head into the half with 37, while the rest of us started canceling any plans we had for the next hour.
The toughest thing for a player in that sort of zone (Carmelo was 15-of-21 in the first half, and 3-for-7 from deep) is cooling during the break. But ‘Melo came out and knocked down his first three jump shots, and all of a sudden he had 43 points and there were still nine minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when the graphic of Bernard King and the other top-scoring Knicks started flashing across the screen.
‘Melo finished the third quarter with 56 points (7-of-9 in the period), and we knew we were right up against history. The Madison Square Garden scoring record is held by Kobe Bryant. Five years ago, this February, Mamba dropped 61 on the Knicks as the Garden crowd was awed into cheering such an amazing performance. Tonight, they got to cheer for one of their own.
At the start of the fourth, Anthony was visibly tuckered out. Through three quarters, he had knocked down 22 shots on 30 attempts, going 6-of-10 from beyond the arc. He had also pulled down 10 rebounds. But ‘Melo missed his first shot in the fourth, and you wondered how long it would take to score the next six points. The game was a blowout, so ‘Melo would get yanked once he had the record.
On the next two possessions he was fouled while in the act of shooting, and equaled King’s Knicks record of 60 points by knocking down all four free throws.
On the record-clinching shot, ‘Melo drove past the double-team that had become automatic at that point and went right past the two defenders that were crowding him beyond the arc. He lofted a shot off the glass that bounced on the back of the iron and looked like it would fall off. Instead, it dropped through the net and ‘Melo would get a much-deserved break.
Carmelo Anthony just scored 62 points at Madison Square Garden. No one in the history of the building has ever done that. Remember where you were when you watched. You’re gonna want to tell your kids and your grandkids about it. I gotta go smoke a cigarette.
What did you think of Melo’s big night?
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